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FAA Warning Triggers 5G Delays for AT&T and Verizon

By Maurice Nagle

5G is here; at least that’s what “they” say. Who knows, “they” say a lot. While 5G services are slowly creeping onto the scene, it seems stumbling blocks continue on the way toward widespread deployment and adoption.

Today, Verizon and AT&T announced delays in rolling out 5G services, based on warnings from the FAA of aircraft interference. First reported by The Wall Street Journal, initial plans of a December 5 launch of new spectrum is now postponed until January 5.

Numerous meetings between the FCC and FAA have taken place since August regarding the matter of interference to aircraft components. It’s unclear if things actually came to a head or this is kicking the can down the road, but concern is certainly high enough to push the pause button.

The FAA said on Tuesday operators "should be prepared for the possibility that interference from 5G transmitters and other technology could cause certain safety equipment to malfunction, requiring them to take mitigating action that could affect flight operations."

While there are no confirmed reports of interference and carriers aren’t worried at the possibly, other nations are making adjustments to deployments – Australia, Canada and France, to name a few.

Specifically speaking, “c-band” frequencies are in question. Offering midrange frequencies with improved speeds c-band represents the opportunity to accelerate the expansion of 5G access across the country.

The blow to AT&T and Verizon is a coup for T-Mobile US, as analysts note an extended delay enables T-Mobile US to further expand its customer base and build on a lengthy head start.

Considering it’s been nearly a year since the FCC auction where Verizon spent $45 billion and AT&T invested $23 billion in a 5G future, one would hope this is merely a wrinkled requiring a little ironing, than an all out fire drill, if anything at all.

Where there’s smoke, there’s fire. Are we too busy looking for smoke? Or is this a matter of being safe instead than of sorry?

Edited by Maurice Nagle
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