The US airlines, which threatened to sue the telephone operators AT&T Y Verizon To delay the deployment of 5G technology, they reached an agreement on Monday night to postpone the implementation of the new frequency bands until January 19.
The agreement “is a significant step in the right direction,” US President Joe Biden said in a statement Tuesday.
According to representatives of the airline industry, on Monday night a last minute draft agreement was reached first with the operator AT&T, and then with Verizon, to delay again by 15 days the establishment of new 5G frequency bands.
An AT&T spokeswoman confirmed to AFP that it had reached an agreement with the Department of Transportation and “agreed to two more weeks for the deployment of the service.”
The two operators “agree not to deploy 5G technology on January 5, that is to say on Wednesday, but on January 19,” an airline industry official said.
Verizon and AT&T had rejected a request from authorities on Sunday to postpone the start-up of the 5G network again.
Although the airlines invoke possible interference with devices on board the aircraft, the entry into service of 5G, initially scheduled for December 5, had already been postponed and should be effective this Wednesday.
But the airlines were preparing to file a lawsuit to obtain this delay and technical modifications in the deployment of the high-speed connection network.
During this “two-week break”, changes made to airport facilities in particular will need to be reviewed by the federal aviation regulatory authority, the FAA, “to ensure they meet all safety conditions for flights.”
The 3.7 to 3.8 GHz frequency bands were awarded to AT&T and Verizon in February after a bid for tens of billions of dollars.
Faced with concerns about potential interference problems with devices that measure altitude on airplanes, the FAA had issued new directives that limited the use of these devices on airplanes in certain situations.
But US airlines have protested against the possible costs that the application of the new provisions would entail and have asked the authorities to quickly find a solution.
“We know that aviation security and 5G can coexist and we are convinced that by seeking collaboration and technical evaluations we will solve the problems,” AT&T said.