Buttigieg and FAA Administrator Steve Dickson asked AT&T Chief Executive John Stankey and Verizon Chief Executive Hans Vestberg for a delay of no more than two weeks as part of a "proposal as a near-term solution for advancing the co-existence of 5G deployment in the C-Band and safe flight operations."
The aviation industry and FAA have raised concerns about the potential interference of 5G with sensitive aircraft electronics like radio altimeters that could disrupt flights.
The two companies accused the aerospace industry of seeking to hold C-Band spectrum deployment "hostage until the wireless industry agrees to cover the costs of upgrading any obsolete altimeters."
Buttigieg and Dickson said under the framework "commercial C-band service would begin as planned in January with certain exceptions around priority airports." The carriers, which won the spectrum in an $80 billion government auction, previously agreed to precautionary measures for six months to limit interference.
Wireless industry group CTIA said 5G is safe and spectrum is being used in about 40 other countries.