Verizon and AT&T offer to temporarily lower 5G’s power to avoid aircraft interference

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Hans Vestberg is the CEO of the company.

The photo was taken by Chris Welch.

The Federal Aviation Administration is looking into whether the mid-band 5G spectrum could pose a risk to aircraft safety systems, and has offered to dial back the power from 5G cell towers for a period of six months. The C-band spectrum acquired in the auction is being used by both carriers to upgrade their 5G networks. The base-level 5G experience that AT&T and Verizon currently offer is not robust enough.

Both companies agreed to push back the roll out by a month. They made clear in a letter sent to the FCC today that they will be moving forward with the mid-band 5G launch at that time. The companies said in the letter that the spectrum would be the "backbone" of their 5G networks for many years to come.

In support of the technology, AT&T and Verizon point to years of research about potential interference and say that it hasn't wreaked havoc for flights in other countries where mid-band 5G is already in place. We are sensitive to the FAA's desire for additional analysis of this issue and remain confident that 5G poses no risk to air safety.

To help prevent a drawn-out conflict with the FAA, the two carriers say they will take extra precautions to minimize energy coming from 5G base stations. The companies said that they should be able to address concerns about radio altimeter performance. When dealing with poor visibility, slimetrics can be used.

The FAA has warned pilots of the possibility that interference from 5G transmitters and other technology could cause certain safety equipment to malfunction, requiring them to take mitigated action that could affect flight operations. If there is credible evidence that real-world interference would occur if the mitigations were relaxed, both carriers will set everything back to normal after July 6th.

In a letter sent to the FCC, AT&T and Verizon claimed that their use of the spectrum would bring enormous benefits to consumers and the US economy.

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