By Drew FitzGerald
AT&T Inc. /zigman2/quotes/203165245/composite T +0.61% on Tuesday agreed to temporarily water down its 5G wireless network expansion plans to address air-safety regulators’ concerns about their signals’ effect on aircraft instruments.
The new delay follows a last-minute appeal by the airline industry, which warned that restrictions designed to prevent interference with key aircraft equipment could force them to ground a large number of flights once the cellular service goes live as planned on Wednesday.
”At our sole discretion we have voluntarily agreed to temporarily defer turning on a limited number of towers around certain airport runways,” an AT&T spokeswoman said in a statement. “We are launching our advanced 5G services everywhere else as planned.”
The telecom and aviation industries seemed on the brink of a truce earlier this month after cellphone carriers agreed to completely pause the launch of their new 5G services until Jan. 19. The time-out was designed to give the Federal Aviation Administration more time to whittle down its safety restrictions to specific aircraft and airports, which would lessen the disruption they caused to flight plans.
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