US heavyweights AT&T and Verizon reportedly offered to limit power generated from 5G towers for a period of six months while regulators assess the effects of next-generation signals on aircraft sensors, following concerns raised by the aviation industry.
In a letter to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) seen by The Wall Street Journal (WSJ), the operators reportedly pledged to minimise the energy coming from 5G base stations nationwide, and around public airports and helipads until July 2022.
AT&T previously delayed rollout of 5G services on C-Band spectrum by a month and pledged to work with regulators to address concerns about possible interference with aircraft safety systems. At the time, WSJ reported Verizon had also pushed back its launch.
In their letter to the FCC, AT&T and Verizon reportedly stated while they remained confident “5G poses no risk to air safety, we are also sensitive to the Federal Aviation Administration’s desire for additional analysis of this issue”.
The WSJ pointed out it is rare for operators to voluntarily limit their services. Verizon and AT&T invested $53 billion and $23.4 billion respectively on C-Band licences, in addition to billions to ready their service launches.
A Federal Aviation Administration representative told WSJ the latest proposal was an important and encouraging step, while an FCC representative explained the limits “represent one of the most comprehensive efforts in the world to safeguard aviation technologies”.