AT&T, Verizon Pause 5G Rollout Plans After Pleas From Major U.S. Airlines

A letter from 10 major U.S. airlines convinced the companies to alter their rollout plans

We may earn a commission from links on this page.
Image for article titled AT&T, Verizon Pause 5G Rollout Plans After Pleas From Major U.S. Airlines
Photo: Stefani Renyolds (Getty Images)

Major airline operators across the U.S. can breathe a sigh of relief – at least for now. Verizon and AT&T are changing their plans for 5G cell phone signal rollouts near airports around the country.

It’s in an attempt to quell concerns their equipment would interfere with airplane equipment once the services started January 19. However, the cell phone carriers are not happy with the decision they came to:

“We are frustrated by the FAA’s inability to do what nearly 40 countries have done, which is to safely deploy 5G technology without disrupting aviation services, and we urge it do so in a timely manner,” AT&T said in a statement. “We are launching our advanced 5G services everywhere else as planned with the temporary exception of this limited number of towers.”


Verizon said it would go ahead with its original plans to launch but would add some additional measures to address concerts around airports.

Neither company said where they would apply the new measures and the New York Times reports it was not immediately clear whether the changes actually go far enough to satisfy airline and aviation safety regulators and avoid large numbers of flight cancellations.


This all happened soon after ten of the largest airline operators in the U.S. submitted a letter vehemently asking for a delay of the rollout. They promised total chaos in both shipping and passenger travel if the 5G plans went ahead near airports.

The letter was signed by chief executive of American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, Southwest Airlines, Alaska Air, Atlas Air, JetBlue Airways as well as the shipping companies UPS and FedEx.