AT&T Communications switched on its C-band 5G network yesterday (19 January), covering ‘limited parts’ of eight metro areas from launch. The service initially went live in parts of Austin, Chicago, Dallas-Fort Worth, Detroit, Houston, Jacksonville, Orlando and South Florida, but the telco has promised that its footprint ‘will expand rapidly as our thoughtful and efficient deployment ramps up throughout the year’. AT&T notes that users can currently access the service using one of 17 C-band-capable devices.
With reference to the ongoing dispute with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Chris Sambar, AT&T’s EVP of Technology Operations, commented: ‘Following a six-week voluntary pause and the implementation of additional precautionary measures to allow the FAA and aviation industry to complete evaluations, today’s introduction of C-band spectrum begins turbo-boosting our 5G wireless service with our newest AT&T 5G+ service.’
As previously reported by CommsUpdate, AT&T and Verizon Wireless agreed to suspend the commencement of their planned C-band 5G deployments from 5 December 2021 to 5 January 2022 and again until 19 January in order to appease the aviation industry. The issues relate to perceived interference concerns between 5G signals in the 3.7GHz-3.98GHz band and aircraft radio altimeters which use 4.2GHz-4.4GHz spectrum. It is understood that both telcos have reluctantly agreed to create ‘buffer zones’ in selected areas around 50 airports.