Apple jumps into 5G development via NGMN

Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) intends to play a leading role as the definitions and specifications for 5G emerge. Its ambitions were highlighted by the Next Generation Mobile Networks (NGMN) Alliance, which said Apple has joined the group and is among companies "expected to significantly contribute to the upcoming work of the NGMN 5G Initiative."

The NGMN Alliance was founded in 2006 by network operators, which wanted to ensure that next-generation mobile network infrastructure, service platforms and devices would meet their requirements. In February 2014, the NGNM board, then made up of CTOs from 19 network operators, decided (PDF) to focus the NGMN's future work program on defining the end-to-end requirements for 5G, "recognizing that the scope of 5G extends significantly beyond the radio access layer."

In addition to Apple, other new members of NGMN include Dutch cable TV operator Ziggo and China's Peking University. All three were welcomed into the group earlier this month during a workshop in Beijing, where representatives from operators, vendors and research institutions gathered to discuss requirements and potential solutions for 5G.

Operators and vendors are also engaging in 5G development on their own as well as in partnership with leading research institutions. For example, Vodafone recently announced that it was extending its existing partnership with Dresden University of Technology in Germany to include the research and development of 5G technology. The university has already opened its first 5G lab, where researchers can evaluate network hardware and software, computer chips, spectrum and cloud computing.

Professor Gerhard Fettweis, the university's Vodafone Chair of Mobile Communications Systems, said next-generation mobile communications will involve the control of a vast array of objects in real-time with little human intervention. "To get there we need to rethink wireless communications, particularly with regard to data rates, latency and IP services," he added.

Among other things, Fettweis has been a leader in research related to a new air interface called Generalized Frequency Division Multiplexing (GFDM).

For more:
- see this NGMN release
- see this Vodafone release
- see this FierceWireless:Europe article

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