Verizon and AT&T stated they will proceed with activation of 5G sites operating in C-Band spectrum today (19 January), but moved to allay aviation industry fears by delaying the switch on near some airports.

The operators plan to light C-Band 5G services in 46 metropolitan areas after two delays related to objections and concerns raised by the aviation sector regarding potential interference with altimeters.

Aviation officials have been collecting information from mobile operators about the power and direction of 5G radio transmissions near 88 airports. AT&T and Verizon collectively spent $68 billion plus clearing costs to acquire the C-Band spectrum and rebuked the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for not acting sooner.

“They have not utilised the two years they’ve had to responsibly plan for this deployment”, an AT&T representative told Mobile World Live (MWL). “We continue to work with the aviation industry and the FAA to provide further information about our 5G deployment”.

AT&T and Verizon both released statements claiming 40 other countries have been able to safely deploy 5G technology without disrupting aviation.

The operators already detailed plans to delay lighting towers at 50 airports for six months to allow the FAA more time to assess potential interference, with the agency clearing low-visibility landings at 48 of the 88 airports.

Verizon states its C-Band spectrum will cover 100 million people this month, with AT&T targeting between 70 million and 75 million during 2022.