Skip to content

Full 5G C-band implementation delayed a year, but airlines will need to upgrade equipment

June 17, 2022
3 min read
5G C-Band implementation
Full 5G C-band implementation delayed a year, but airlines will need to upgrade equipment
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Remember the 5G C-band dispute from this past January?

To jog your memory, the dispute occurred when wireless companies and airlines disagreed over the use of 5G C-band signals, which can interfere with airplane instrumentation. At the time, airline CEOs warned of doomsday, foreign airlines canceled some flights to the U.S. and one smaller airport north of Seattle canceled flights for an entire day due to low-visibility conditions that aircraft could previously handle.

They all eventually came to an agreement in January, but this agreement was set to expire on July 5. Now, the Federal Aviation Administration and wireless companies have found a path forward in their ongoing 5G C-band dispute — and the airline industry is not thrilled.

Sign up for our daily newsletter

Want more airline-specific news? Sign up for TPG’s free biweekly Aviation newsletter.

AT&T and Verizon, which operate the 5G C-band networks in the U.S., have agreed to continue minimizing the impact of 5G C-band signals near airports for another year, until July 2023.

The 5G C-band dispute centers on a key piece of technology found in airliners called a radio altimeter.

A radio (or radar) altimeter is a type of instrument that is used to precisely measure an aircraft’s height above the ground. This type of instrument is essential during low-visibility conditions because the data from it is necessary for pilots to be able to conduct high-precision instrument approaches and even automatic landings, allowing operations to continue even with little to no visibility.

Since the initial (albeit modified) rollout of 5G C-band in January, regional aircraft have been most susceptible to 5G interference. Under this new agreement, the radio altimeters in those aircraft will have to be fitted with radio frequency filters that mitigate the effects of signal interference by the end of this year, the FAA said.

Other aircraft will need to have that work done by next July.

“We believe we have identified a path that will continue to enable aviation and 5G C-band wireless to safely co-exist,” Billy Nolen, acting FAA administrator, said in a statement. “We appreciate the willingness of Verizon and AT&T to continue this important and productive collaboration with the aviation industry.”

Related: What you need to know about 5G interfering with aircraft

However, the airline industry is unhappy with its new deadline.

In a letter to Nolen issued around the same time as the FAA's announcement, the industry's lobbying group, Airlines for America, accused the agency of caving to pressure from the wireless industry. The group said it needs more time for avionics to be developed.

"Any compromise in this area demands careful consideration and rejection of haste," Nicholas Calio, the group's CEO, wrote in the letter.

In a response to Airlines for America, the FAA said that the industry has plenty of time.

"It accurately reflects the realities of the marketplace, as well as the urgency for operators to retrofit their fleets as quickly possible," the FAA said in a statement.

Featured image by Bloomberg via Getty Images
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

TPG featured card

Best starter travel card
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

1 - 3X points
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
1XEarn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases

Intro offer

Earn 80,000 ThankYou® points60,000 points
For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

Annual Fee

$95

Recommended Credit

670-850
Excellent, Good
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

Pros

  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases
Best starter travel card
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
1XEarn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

    Earn 80,000 ThankYou® points
    60,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $95
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent, Good

Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

Pros

  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases