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AT&T, Verizon To Light Up More 5G Towers As Carriers Reach Agreement With FAA

Following a near two-month battle with federal safety regulators, the two carriers were given the go-ahead to light up more 5G cell towers near certain airports on Friday.

The two largest carriers in the country have been cleared to turn on more 5G cell towers in the midst of apparently easing tensions with federal safety regulators.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on Friday cleared AT&T and Verizon to light up more towers for 5G services on the C-band, or mid-band spectrum.

The Federal Aviation Administration said that it took the necessary steps after receiving details from the carriers about the location of wireless transmitters to ensure the new services wouldn’t cause radio inference with the communications systems on planes.

[Related: AT&T, Verizon To Postpone 5G Infrastructure Rollouts Near Major U.S. Airports ]

“Through continued technical collaboration, the FAA, Verizon and AT&T have agreed on steps that will enable more aircraft to safely use key airports while also enabling more towers to deploy 5G service,” the FAA said in a statement on Friday.

The FAA said the delay helped it more precisely map the shape of affected areas, shrinking the spaces where carriers had deferred turning on towers, which would enable the carriers to safely turn on more towers, without plane landings being hindered in the process.

AT&T and Verizon have not publicly commented on the latest update in the ongoing battle between the carriers and the federal safely regulators.

The FAA and U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg in December first asked the two carriers to delay planed January 5 mid-band 5G deployments near certain airports citing concerns over interference from C-band transmissions, which could limit guided landing systems for aircraft.

Later in January, the FAA once again asked AT&T and Verizon to delay switching on their 5G services. The carriers at the time agreed while making their disappointment with the FAA clear the day before the cancelled technology launches.

Dallas-based AT&T said its low band 5G network reaches more than 250 million Americans in 14,000 U.S. cities and towns. Its 5G+ service, which uses millimeter-wave spectrum, is available in 38 cities. Verizon, based in Basking Ridge, N.J., said its 5G Ultra Wideband network is live in more than 71 major U.S. cities.

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