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telephone operators AT&T Y Verizon began rolling out new frequency bands for 5G technology in the United States on Wednesday, causing some flight cancellations but not the major disruption airlines feared from possible interference with aircraft instruments.

According to the specialized site Flightaware, some 261 flights that were to take off or land at a US airport had been cancelled. The number could increase on the day, but it is lower than that of Tuesday and also that the 538 flights canceled the previous Wednesday.

Some companies based outside of U.S canceled long-haul flights to certain airports, including Emirates, Air India, ANA and Japan Airlines.

The latter two initially indicated having received information about possible interference between the altimeters of their Boeing 777s and 5G frequencies. However, they later received another notification from the US aviation authority (FAA) assuring them that there were no more problems, so they plan to resume their normal program from Thursday.

AT&T Y Verizon invested tens of billions of dollars at the beginning of 2021 to obtain the rights to use the new frequency bands for 5G. But then the airline sector expressed concern that these frequencies, close to those used by aircraft altimeters, could interfere with those instruments that are important for landings under certain weather conditions.

The FAA recently demanded adjustments and the heads of 10 air transport companies called on Monday for authorities to intervene “immediately” to avoid “a major disruption” to air traffic.

Both operators, which had already postponed the deployment of the new frequencies twice, agreed on Tuesday to once again temporarily defer the activation of mobile phone towers near the runways of certain airports. In any case, they kept launching 5G in the rest of the country.

The FEW indicated on Wednesday that it had given the green light to three more radio altimeters, thus allowing about 62% of the US commercial aircraft fleet to make landings with the instrument in case of poor visibility at airports near areas where the new technology was deployed. .

“Flights to certain airports could still be affected,” the agency added, however, noting that it continues to work with aircraft manufacturers.

“Although there is still work to be done between all parties,” the carriers’ gesture represents “an important step toward a permanent solution,” said the federation representing US airlines, A4A.

AT&T confirmed to AFP on Wednesday that it has launched the new frequency bands, which allow the speed and range of the existing network to be increased in eight large metropolises in the country.

The head of Verizon, Hans Vestberg, indicated on his side to the CNBC network that the deployment of the new frequency bands had been launched in more than 1,700 locations.


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