No, Apple is not practicing to be carrier. This is how you horn in on 5G
Since Cupertino will want to hold onto its place in the smartphone market once networks appear, it’s hardly jaw-dropping that the 28 GHz and 39 GHz bands interest the company.
Apple’s FCC filing (PDF) requests permission “to assess cellular link performance in direct path and multipath environments between base station transmitters and receivers using this spectrum”.
These tests, however, don’t involve anything that looks much like an iPhone: the year-long experiments will use “a horn antenna with a half-power beamwidth of 20 degrees in the E-plane and H-plane and a downtilt between 20 – 25 degrees.”
It looks to The Register like Cupertino wants to see how much the 28 GHz and 39 GHz bands can carry over backhaul distances – specifically the roughly 16 Km (10 miles) between Cupertino and Milpitas.
Apple promises its experiments won’t interfere with any existing earth-to-space licenses in the 28 GHz band, and it will coordinate with other microwave transmission users in the region.
Fanbois reaching this point of the story may find themselves asking two questions.
Firstly, seeing as Cupertino’s already done an “iPhone 5”, what on earth would it call a 5G iPhone? Secondly, if apple is testing backhaul might that mean it wants to become a wireless network operator?
The Reg has no idea how to answer the first question. The second is easier to answer: as noted by LightReading, Apple’s experiments are in line with other work particularly in the 39 GHz band, where all the currently-public experiments are in fixed applications. So Apple is not alone in such tests. So cool your jets, ‘OMG Apple wants to be a phone company’ theorists. ®