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AT&T, Verizon delays launch of 5G near some airports after airlines ask Biden to intervene

AT&T issued the announcement as it cooperates with the aviation industry and the US Federal Aviation Administration for further information, according to a statement from AT&T spokeswoman Megan Ketterer.

"We are frustrated by the FAA's inability to do what nearly 40 countries have done, which is to implement 5G technology safely without disrupting aviation services, and we urge you to do so in a timely manner," the spokeswoman said.

"As the nation's leading wireless provider, we have voluntarily decided to limit our 5G network around airports," Verizon said in a separate statement. "The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and our nation's airlines have not been able to fully address 5G navigation around airports, despite being safe and fully operational in more than 40 other countries."

AT&T (T), which owns CNN's parent company, and Verizon will continue to launch advanced 5G services elsewhere as planned.

Dealers are fighting for a compromise

The Biden administration said earlier Wednesday that it was "actively engaged" in finding a solution to Wednesday's planned 5G rollout, which airlines say is causing safety issues that will lead to major flight delays.

A White House official tells CNN that the administration is talking to the FAA, the Federal Communications Commission, wireless carriers, airlines and aircraft equipment manufacturers to find a solution that still allows rollout without sacrificing flight safety.

Airlines are asking the Biden administration for 'immediate intervention' on 5G

In a Tuesday letter, CEOs of 10 airlines told the Biden administration to push back the already delayed rollout. Airlines estimate 1,000 flight interruptions a day due to possible interference with radar altimeters, which pilots use to land under poor visibility. The telecommunications industry has not commented on the letter, but has said the fears are unfounded as there have been no problems in other countries where 5G is already installed.

A source familiar with the discussions tells CNN that negotiations right now are centered on establishing a buffer in key airports that allows about 90% of the 5G towers to be installed. If accepted, officials predict that the cancellations can be avoided and that the consequences for the traveling public - even if they are not eliminated - would be reduced.

American Airlines chief operating officer David Seymour said 5G posed a serious problem for airlines' operations, according to a new employee memo shared with CNN on Tuesday.

He said the aviation industry and 5G should be able to "coexist", but "it only comes with a better understanding of potential impacts."

"Until a long-term technical solution is developed and implemented, and as long as 5G is implemented, we expect that we will experience delays, redirects and cancellations that are far beyond our control," he said, repeating the letter sent to federal officials.


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