5G Will Still Be Available Inside Airport Walls: Experts

You can still access forms of 5G inside the airport. But you do need to make sure your phone is even 5G capable.

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5G service went live around most of the country Wednesday, except in areas near airports.

But tech experts say 5G is still available inside the airport walls.

AT&T and Verizon made the decision to hold off on launching the faster service near airports over concerns from the aviation community. Their concern is that signals could interfere with critical technology pilots rely on.

But technology experts told NBC 6 it’s the people who live outside the airport who will be stuck with 4G. But you can still access forms of 5G inside the airport.

“The current service that they have is not going to go away and not going to get any worse. So, any service they currently have, including different types of 5G, as well as the existing LTE 4G service will remain exactly the same,” said Bob O’Donnell of TECHnalysis Research.

O’Donnell said there are different versions of 5G: T-Mobile has already launched 5G. So, if you’re a T-Mobile customer, you can access the service inside the airport.

He also explained customers with AT&T or Verizon can still access both low band and high band 5G. But it’s the mid-band 5G service, with signals that travel farther and faster, that will be on pause for now.

Still, he said service shouldn’t be any slower. But you do need to make sure your phone is even 5G capable.

5G service became a reality Wednesday, but not for those who live or work near airports. NBC 6's Willard Shepard reports

“So you don’t automatically get 5G if you have say, an iPhone 10 or iPhone 11, because they don’t support 5G,” O’Donnell said.

A passenger at Miami International Airport was having some difficulty booking a last-minute hotel room on an LTE connection Wednesday.

“I’m trying to book a room in Miami and I can’t get on the app that I need, it’s been frustrating," Fahima Khalaf said. "Just my day-to-day activities and things that I take for granted, on my phone, basically run my life, it’s been challenging and more difficult so I do worry how this can impact the airplanes."

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