US wireless operators AT&T and Verizon want to accommodate the authorities and the government because of security concerns in air traffic due to an expanded 5G offering. In the vicinity of certain airports, the use of the new signals could be suspended for six months, wrote Verizon boss Hans Vestberg and AT&T driver John Stankey in a joint letter on Sunday.
The specific airports are to be coordinated with the aviation industry and the US authorities. At the same time, the companies rejected the request of the regulatory authorities and the US Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg to postpone the commissioning of the new 5G frequencies planned for this Wednesday.
Interference with aircraft electronics
The officials from the FAA air traffic control and the Department of Transportation fear that 5G technology could interfere with certain aircraft electronics (pdf). In particular, the effects on aircraft radio altimeters would have to be examined. Without delay, there was a threat of “far-reaching and unacceptable interruptions” in air traffic in bad weather and poor visibility.
These could lead to the diversion or cancellation of numerous flights. According to calculations by the industry association Airlines for America, up to 350,000 passenger flights a year could be affected by disruptions at costs of around 2.1 billion US dollars (1.8 billion euros) if 5G services are not weakened . This also affects around 32 million travelers and 5,400 cargo flights, the association announced.