You might wonder why Google is buying Alpental -- a company that claims its technology supports "5G" -- years before the next generation of cellular services actually comes into being.
I think that Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) is making a bet on what intellectual property it will need in the future.
Alpental CEO and co-founder Peter Gelbman says on his LinkedIn profile that he helped "co-invent" the patents around "a new self-organizing, ultra low power Gigabit wireless technology to extend fiber optics." The low-key startup appears to have attempted to develop a 60GHz mmWave radio system for super-fast backhaul in urban areas. (See Google Buys Alpental for Potential 5G Future.)
For sure, 5G is at least five or six years away from commercial deployment. In Google's view, I suspect, it never hurts to start pulling in intellectual property that is likely -- though not 100% certain yet -- to be part of the 5G specification. It particularly can't hurt if it can get that -- and radio talent -- from a small company like Alpental now, rather than paying billions for the pleasure later. (See Google Keeps Quiet on Plans for Moto.)
— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading