On Monday, Verizon and AT&T accepted a two-week delay in deploying C-band airwaves, as requested by the FAA.
Finally Backing Down
US nationwide carriers, Verizon and AT&T have finally agreed to delay a planned upgrade of their 5G networks, scheduled for January the 5th.
This comes after both carriers endured pressure from airlines, aviation groups, and authorities for months. Last Friday, Pete Buttigieg, the US Transportation Secretary, and the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) had called on the wireless companies to briefly pause their plans for a “short period”. He cited the risk of widespread disruptions. Both carriers gave an emphatic negative response.
However, that response has now changed. In email statements sent on Monday, both companies communicated a change of heart.
“We’ve agreed to a two-week delay which promises the certainty of bringing this nation our game-changing 5G network in January, delivered over America’s best and most reliable network,” said Verizon’s spokesperson, Rich Young.
AT&T’s statement was similar. The company also pledged to carry out its resolve to cushion any potential effects of the deployment. “We also remain committed to the six-month protection zone mitigations we outlined in our letter. We know aviation safety and 5G can coexist and we are confident further collaboration and assessment will allay any issues.”
The change in tune averts a potential legal standoff that would have set the carriers against regulators and other stakeholders.
Verizon and AT&T acquired the rights to use the C-band frequencies for a combined price of almost $70 billion. Verizon spent most of the two, purchasing 3500 licenses for $45 billion.