Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) wants to test on 28GHz and 39GHz spectrum at its headquarters in Cupertino, and in Milpitas, Calif.
"Apple Inc. seeks to assess cellular link performance in direct path and multipath environments between base station transmitters and receivers using this spectrum. These assessments will provide engineering data relevant to the operation of devices on wireless carriers' future 5G networks," the company said in documentation filed to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) , first reported by Business Insider.
Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) has spectrum holdings at both 28GHz and 39GHz. AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) has 39GHz licenses, and T-Mobile US Inc. acquired some 28GHz licenses when it acquired MetroPCS. 28GHz is also expected to be used in Japan and South Korea for 5G. The technology will also be delivered in so-called "sub6" frequencies, utilizing the same advanced radio techniques, which could stretch anywhere from 600MHz to 3.5GHz.
One of the building blocks of 5G, millimeter wave is high-band spectrum -- 30GHz to 300GHz -- that can deliver high data rates. Smart antenna arrays and radio beam steering will help boost those data rates beyond 1 Gbit/s and overcome range and propagation issues to deliver 5G, or at least, that's the theory! (See Big Questions Remain on Fixed Millimeter Wave for 5G.)
That Apple is looking to get ready for millimeter wave 5G will be no surprise to regular readers. Light Reading reported in November that the device vendor was hiring millimeter wave chip designers to eventually get devices in the grubby mitts of "hundreds of millions of customers." (See Apple Seeds 5G? Seeks 'Multi-Gigabit' Chip Designer.)
This doesn't mean that the huddled masses should expect a mmWave 5G-compatible iPhone in, say, 2018. Apple is clearly in the early stages with 5G, and battery-life concerns are paramount for future 28GHz smartphones. (See SKT Airs 28GHz Concerns, Eyes Mid-Band 5G for more details.)
Furthermore, all of the 39GHz testing for 5G so far appears to have been in the fixed wireless realm. This suggests that a 5G iPad, or perhaps even a home router, could be the first product developed by Apple using the next-generation wireless technology.
— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading