5G and Beyond

Google Buys Alpental for Potential 5G Future

Google has bought an early-stage millimeter wave radio startup, potentially positioning itself for a future in 5G and super-speedy WiFi.

Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) revealed last week that it has acquired Alpental Technologies Inc. for an undisclosed sum. The Bothell, Wash.-based startup was founded in November 2012 by ex-Clearwire execs -- Peter Gelbman and Mike Hart -- and had raised around $850,000 in funding.

Former T-Mobile US Inc. CTO Cole Brodman is listed as an investor and adviser for Alpental. Broadman's LinkedIn page describes the company as "a Start-up focused on next generation wireless backhaul."

Gelbman, on his LinkedIn profile, meanwhile, describes the startup as developing a "hyper scalable mmWave networking solution for dense urban nextGen 5G & WiFi -- at the form factor & cost of an iPod." The company is known to be using 60GHz radio technology as the backbone for its developments.

Millimeter wave (mmWave) radios ride on frequencies from 30GHz to 300GHz. The technology is expected to become part of both next-generation 5G and WiFi technology. Carriers and vendors have started some early experiments using the technology for super-fast transmissions of data. (See DoCoMo Unveils 5G Trial Plans and Samsung: Inching Toward 5G?)

Gelbman and Hart's positions at Google are to be determined.

— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

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