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Devices/smartphones

Apple Looking to Cook 5G Test Devices

Apple is asking the FCC for a license to test high-band millimeter wave technology in devices ahead of the anticipated launch of 5G networks using such technology before the end of the decade.

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.)


Want to know more about 5G? Check out our dedicated 5G content channel here on
Light Reading.


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.

The first true 5G smartphones, by the way -- likely from Samsung Corp. -- are expected sometime around the middle of 2019. (See Qualcomm: First 5G Smartphones Coming Mid-2019.)

— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

kq4ym 6/8/2017 | 8:24:28 AM
Re: Bets on when a 5G iPhone *will* arrive? There's still lots of questions about how and if the technology can be cost effective against cable. And considering the limitations and necessity of line of sight installations, the range problem in congested areas needs to be solved. And as noted the cell phones are going to be ready for some time if that's where the move will head.
DanJones 5/25/2017 | 10:39:15 AM
Re: Bets on when a 5G iPhone *will* arrive? Yeah, they've been acquiring and hiring mmWave talent since at least 2014:

 

http://www.lightreading.com/google-searching-for-5g-wireless-engineer/d/d-id/713377
DanJones 5/25/2017 | 10:39:14 AM
Re: Bets on when a 5G iPhone *will* arrive? Yeah, they've been acquiring and hiring mmWave talent since at least 2014:

 

http://www.lightreading.com/google-searching-for-5g-wireless-engineer/d/d-id/713377
Austin Idol 5/25/2017 | 7:54:51 AM
Re: Bets on when a 5G iPhone *will* arrive? Google may come in nice and smooth with 5G:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iH_wkjmIkO4
Austin Idol 5/25/2017 | 7:53:38 AM
Re: Bets on when a 5G iPhone *will* arrive? Of course there are other perspectives:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IDhz_mVcVCQ
Austin Idol 5/25/2017 | 7:52:48 AM
Re: Bets on when a 5G iPhone *will* arrive? Here is the best answer to that:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dEjXPY9jOx8
DanJones 5/24/2017 | 5:39:36 PM
Bets on when a 5G iPhone *will* arrive? So what's your bet on when a 5G iPhone could arrive? I'm going to say September 2020 at the very earliest, probably after that, it's not going to be worth it until there's a significant 5G footprint.

They don't tend to do bleeding edge on the radio side.
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