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The Wall Street Journal: AT&T, Verizon to delay rollout of new 5G frequency over FAA’s safety concerns

AT&T Inc.
T,
-1.51%

and Verizon Communications Inc.
VZ,
-2.06%

agreed to delay their planned Dec. 5 rollout of a new 5G frequency band so they can work with the Federal Aviation Administration to address concerns about potential interference with key cockpit safety systems.

The cellphone carriers said Thursday they would delay their planned 5G deployments until Jan. 5, responding to the aviation regulator’s warnings while disputing claims that the proposed cellular signals would represent a danger.

The FAA, a unit of the U.S. Transportation Department, had been planning to issue official mandates as soon as this week that would limit pilots’ use of certain automated cockpit systems, such as those that help planes land in poor weather, according to government and industry officials familiar with the planned orders. Those limits would aim to avoid potential interference from wireless towers on the ground transmitting new 5G signals.

Such limits for pilots could disrupt passenger and cargo flights in the 46 metropolitan areas where the towers are located, aviation industry officials have said.

Telecom industry officials have disputed the need for more safeguards, saying that available evidence doesn’t show that the proposed 5G signals will interfere with flight equipment. Cellphone carriers in some other countries already use the wireless frequencies in question.

An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com.

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