AT&T, Verizon Agree to C-Band 5G Rollout Delay

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg (Image credit: N/A)

AT&T and Verizon Communications said late Monday (Jan. 3) that the companies will delay their planned January 5 rollout of 5G wireless service in the C-band, at least briefly, at the request of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.

The secretary had asked for a two-week delay to try and resolve issues of possible interference with radio altimeters that use the adjacent ban.

“At Secretary Buttigieg's request, we have voluntarily agreed to one additional two-week delay of our deployment of C-Band 5G services,” AT&T said in a statement. “We also remain committed to the six-month protection zone mitigations we outlined in our letter. We know aviation safety and 5G can co-exist and we are confident further collaboration and technical assessment will allay any issues.”

Also: Pilots Call for 5G C-Band Stay

“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,” Verizon spokesman Rich Young said.

Both AT&T and Verizon had indicated in a joint letter that they did not plan to delay the rollout, which they had already delayed from December 5.

Aviation groups on Monday had asked President Biden to step in to try and stop the companies from launching.

The FCC had also been petitioned to stay its decision to allow 5G and altimeters to co-exist.

While Buttigieg over the weekend called on AT&T and Verizon to delay the launch, they had declined but also said they had taken extra steps to mitigate concerns. They had also pointed out that they had already delayed the rollout once over the issue, and that the FCC concluded that wireless could operate in the C-band and still protect aviation systems. ■

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.