Apple can now test 5G technology capable of providing multi-gigabit-per-second connections, after receiving a license from the U.S. telecom regulator that allows it to experiment with millimeter wave technology in two locations near its headquarters.
In its initial application, Apple said the trials will “provide engineering data relevant to the operation of devices on wireless carriers’ future 5G networks.”
Millimeter wave, also known as mmWave, refers to the band of spectrum between 30Ghz and 300Ghz. It is extremely high frequency and has short range, but allows for multi-gigabit data speeds. 5G experts believe that future technologies like augmented reality will rely heavily on this sort of high throughput spectrum, noting it will play a large role in the next generation of wireless.
Competitors like Facebook and Google are also testing mmWave technology, as are most major North American wireless carriers.
Apple’s application, submitted in May 2017, makes particular reference to using the 28 and 39 GHz bands, which the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved for commercial use last year.
The 28Ghz band, according to the application, is allocated for earth-to-space transmissions, which may link to the news that Apple has formed a new hardware team comprised of spacecraft and satellite experts in order to pursue broadband satellites.
According to the application, Apple will test mmWave at two of its California facilities — in Cupertino and Milpitas — for a period “not to exceed 12 months.”