5G Testing

Apple Begin 5G Testing

Published: 14th August 2017

Apple's application for an experimental licence to test 5G technology has been accepted by the US FCC (Federal Communications Commission). Apple filed for the application back in May and it was accepted in July. Apple will begin testing in two Apple facilities in California.

Apple's application for an experimental licence gave little away about its plans for the licence, other than the tests would "provide engineering data relevant to the operation of devices on wireless carriers' future 5G networks". To put it simply, Apple are looking to make sure a 5G compatible iPhone is ready for 5G services when it becomes commercially available.

Apple's tests are going to be focusing on short-range millimetre wave spectrum in the 28 GHz and 39 GHz bands, which the FCC approved for commercial 5G use last year. These frequencies allow greater data transmission at faster transfer speeds and are to significantly decrease latency and boost data transmission capacity.

The focus on millimetre wave makes further sense in the context of patents Apple has filed in the past few months that use millimetre wave technology, one in April related to wireless patch antennas and another in June for a new iPhone case that introduces wireless charging.

Apple's development is noteworthy because the majority of 5G testing and announcements so far have come from carriers and the equipment manufacturers. Apple isn't the only phone manufacturer looking into 5G technology, Samsung has been experimenting with 5G as far back as 2013. The reality of 5G is that it won't become a reality unless 5G-capable phones are ready and at an affordable price.

Apple has a large stake in the mobile data market with more than 1 billion iPhones being sold since the release of the original iPhone. It is clear that a lot of work is going into 5G behind the scenes and testing on spectrum that is known will be used for 5G is a typically smart move for the smartphone innovator.

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