Apple has recently received official approval from the FCC to test 5G wireless broadband. The company was granted permission in the form of an experimental license to test millimeter wave technology at two locations near its offices in Milpitas, California (via DSL Reports).

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Apple specifically referenced using the 28GHz and 39GHz bands for its testing, which the FCC initially approved for commercial 5G last year.

“Apple Inc. seeks to assess cellular link performance in direct path and multipath environments between base station transmitters and receivers using this spectrum,” the application states.

“These assessments will provide engineering data relevant to the operation of devices on wireless carriers’ future 5G networks,” the company added.

Apple’s testing of next-generation 5G was first reported earlier this year, but it’s now confirmed thanks to the release of the FCC application. The company’s end goal is, of course, to improve cellular performance for iPhones and other connected devices.

While some carriers are already touting 5G speeds, the millimeter wave technology Apple wants to test is far more advanced. As DSL Reports explains, millimeter wave significantly reduces latency while increasing overall speeds.

T-Mobile has been critical of other carriers touting “fake” 5G, saying that it is working to build a “real, nationwide, mobile 5G network. AT&T branded its rollout of existing LTE technology as “5G Evolution” earlier this year. Though AT&T touts that 5G Evolution offers double the speeds of LTE, the carrier is using technology such as carrier aggregation, 4×4 MIMO, and 256 QAM, which other carriers have used for a long time.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise at all that Apple is testing faster wireless technology. The important thing to note, of course, is that Apple ultimately relies on carriers for the rollout and transition to 5G. A timetable for such a rollout is hazy at this point, with some carriers claiming to be on track for a 2018 rollout while others say it will be closer to 2020.

Either way, it looks as if we’re a few iPhone generations away from being able to take advantage of true millimeter wave 5G data speeds.


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