Apple has officially been granted FCC approval for an experimental license to test 5G data technology — specifically in the short-range millimeter wave spectrum in the 28GHz and 39GHz bands, as reported by DSLReports. The FCC portioned off those chunks of spectrum last summer for companies to begin testing 5G technology, so it makes sense that Apple would want to start exploring 5G, especially given that it’s a major player in the world of mobile data due to the sheer weight of the iPhone in the market.
Apple applied for the experimental license earlier this year with the goal of “provid[ing] engineering data relevant to the operation of devices on wireless carriers’ future 5G networks.” In other words, to start preparing for the eventual 5G iPhone that will no doubt exist one day.
The fact that Apple is exploring the millimeter wave band for 5G tests is interesting though, given that recent 5G announcements from Sprint and T-Mobile have both shied away from the high-frequency bands that Apple is testing. T-Mobile will be focusing its 5G network (at least in part) on the longer-range and lower-frequency 600MHz spectrum, while Sprint will be looking to launch in the 2.5GHz band.
That said, as I am forced to constantly repeat, there still is no formal, agreed-upon 5G standard yet, and it’s possible and even likely that whatever we do end up with will combine both high-frequency millimeter wave bands and more traditional short-range low-frequency transmissions, along with a host of other new technologies that will improve data speed.