AT&T Inc. and Verizon Communications Inc., agreed to delay their planned December 5 rollout of a new 5G frequency band so they can work with the Federal Aviation Administration to address concerns about potential interference with key cockpit safety systems, The Wall Street Journal reported.
The Verge reported that AT&T and Verizon planned to light up new 5G networks that use so-called “C-band” frequencies on December 5th. That rollout will now be delayed until at least January 5th, the companies said Thursday.
Recently, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) posted a “Special Airworthiness Information Bulletin”. The subject was “Risk of Potential Adverse Effects on Radio Altimeters”. In short, the FAA wants radio altimeter manufactures to submit receiver RF selectivity, interference, and tolerance masks, and baseline operational specifications for each model number in production or still in use, and approximate numbers of each radio altimeter model currently in service in the United States.
The FAA also wants radio altimeter manufacturers to test each of their models to determine the susceptibility to interference from fundamental emissions in 3700-3800 MHz, which “is available for wireless broadband in December of 2021”, and the full 3700-3980 Mhz band which will become available later.
In addition, the FAA has a list of requests for aircraft manufacturers, operators, and pilots, regarding the 5G frequency band that AT&T and Verizon want to use.
According to The Verge, AT&T said it is working with the FAA and FCC to better understand that aviation industry’s concerns. In a statement provided to The Verge, “It is critical that these discussions be informed by the science and the data. That is the only path to enabling experts and engineers to assess whether any legitimate co-existence issues exist.”
Verizon provided a statement to The Wall Street Journal. “We appreciate the FCC’s work in its discussions with the FAA and others to ensure a data-driven analysis that will again demonstrate that 5G operations in this band pose no risk to flight safety.”
I get the feeling that AT&T and Verizon are frustrated that they cannot roll out their 5G frequency band just yet. According to the Wall Street Journal, telecom industry officials don’t feel the need for more safeguards, saying that available evidence doesn’t show that the proposed 5G signals will interfere with flight equipment. Cellphone carries outside of the United States are using the that 5G frequency.