Apple Inc. is looking to have more influence on the radio network technology behind 4G and is looking to get involved in the groundwork for mobile broadband specifications beyond LTE-Advanced.
The iPhone vendor is currently advertising for a senior wireless standardization engineer to be based in Santa Clara, Calif. The successful candidate will represent Apple "in wireless communication standard bodies" and be responsible for pushing the company's strategic interests therein.
A big part of that task will involve making contributions to the development of standards and specifications for the network radio interfaces of future 4G technologies by sitting in on 3GPP RAN Working Group 2 meetings.
Specifically, Apple wants the engineer to be involved in the development of "specifications dealing with UTRA, Evolved UTRA, and beyond." E-UTRAN (Evolved Universal Terrestrial Access Network) is the LTE air interface specification, where maximum data rates and the channel bandwidth used are defined.
E-UTRAN was first "frozen" in Release 8 of the specifications (completed in 2008). Release 10, which defines LTE-Advanced, was frozen in April 2011. The specification calls for maximum data rates of 1 Gbit/s, although it will likely be much slower on deployed commercial networks. There's a useful primer from the 3GPP on the technology here.
Now, the focus for the mobile technology community is on the specifications beyond LTE-Advanced.
The RAN Working Group 2 meetings are attended by a wide array of major carriers, equipment vendors, smartphone vendors and chip developers. Apple appears to be sending engineering manager Ajoy Singh to the next meeting in Chicago in April, but hasn't always been represented at the gatherings.
Now that so much of Apple's business is tied up in wirelessly connected smartphones and tablets, it makes sense that the vendor would like to have an advocate to work on the air interface standards for 4G and beyond.
— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile