Verizon and AT&T’s CEOs have rejected a request from the FAA and US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg to delay mid-band 5G.
Verizon and AT&T have been at odds with the airline industry over the C-band spectrum the companies plan to use for 5G. The two companies spent over $68 billion on the spectrum at a recent FCC auction, since C-band is squarely in the mid-band range, making it ideal for 5G.
Unfortunately, the spectrum is very close to the frequencies used by airline altimeters, sparking concerns by the airline industry and the FAA. Secretary Buttigieg had asked the two carriers to delay rollout for no more than two weeks past their January 5 deployment date, already a month later than the two companies originally planned.
It seems neither company is willing to comply, with Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg and AT&T CEO John Stankey penning a joint letter saying they will not delay deployment any longer. According to CNBC, the two companies are willing to delay deployment around airports for another six months, but they will not delay general deployment.
The two companies plan to follow an “exclusion zone” plan, similar to what companies in France are doing. Adjustments would be made to account for the stronger 5G signals used in the US versus France, but the goal would be to limit potential interference in the proximity of airports and helipads.
“The laws of physics are the same in the United States and France,” the CEOs wrote. “If U.S. airlines are permitted to operate flights every day in France, then the same operating conditions should allow them to do so in the United States.”