Apple urges U.S. regulators for more unlicensed allocations in super-high spectrum bands

“While the FCC is taking comments about how it should treat the superhigh spectrum bands, Apple is urging regulators to include more unlicensed spectrum bands in their plans,” Monica Alleven reports for FierceWireless.

“It’s not asking for parity between licensed and unlicensed bands, but it says what’s currently been proposed far too heavily favors licensed technologies,” Alleven reports. “One thing the commission could consider is permitting unlicensed technologies to share these superhigh bands with licensed services, according to Apple’s filing.”

“The commission already has proposed innovative sharing opportunities between fixed service, fixed satellite service (FSS) and unlicensed services in its Mid-Band Spectrum Notice of Inquiry, and such sharing mechanisms should be explored and implemented at the outset in the bands above 95 GHz, according to Apple,” Alleven reports. “The tech giant is also recommending that the commission establish larger unlicensed bandwidths. Thus far, the proposed unlicensed bands range from 1 gigahertz to 7.2 gigahertz wide — too narrow to enable optimal use of the type of technologies that are being developed today.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: The FCC should strive to avoid restrictive rules that could unnecessarily restrict innovation.


  1. If you can’t do what you want in 7.2 GHz of spectrum then you shouldn’t be playing in RF. Period.

    Depending on what you’re doing you can get up through that 5.9 Tbps (that’s terabits per second) through that bandwidth assuming 1024 QAM or APSK with a TPC or LDPC of 9/10 and 10% set aside for guard bands between major channels.

    Even at a relatively sedate 64 QAM or APSK and the same FEC and guards that’s over 370 Gbps. That’s 370 one gigabit per second users concurrently tied to the same base station. Thats over 3,400 concurrent Ultra High Definition (aka, “4K”) streams (with zero buffering) at the highest quality UHD Blu-ray supports. (Just FYI, I’ve done 64 APSK RF links with 3 GHZ of bandwidth over many, many kilometers in Ka-band with effectively zero bit errors.)

    With spatial diversity most often you can duplicate that many, many times over the space of a given area. Bands “above 95 GHz” don’t propagate very far due to high atmospheric absorption, are susceptible to virtually any obstruction, and are significantly attenuated by foul weather.

    How does any of this make that 7.2 GHz of bandwidth “too narrow to enable optimal use of the type of technologies that are being developed today”?

    Besides, if you really want to do multi 100 Gbps links in your home put 1.55 micron laser emitting diodes (the so called “eye safe” band) in all your light fixtures as an addiction to your normal lighting. With typical ceiling lighting, there won’t be obstructions between your equipment and every light in the ceiling. And you won’t need a lot of power since the distances are relatively short.

    1. What if you wanted to transfer a 100GB file in like 3 seconds? With a bit of loss and overhead, 7.2GHz would just barely get you there. Wouldn’t it? Isn’t this a bit like saying “Why do they need 10 lane highways in LA at 2am?” They don’t, but come back at 8am and you’ll see why. I think maybe the key here is the “developing technologies” part. It’s easy to say this seems like overkill until you know the specifics of the application. My first USB drive was 4MB but now they can fit 32GB on a microSD card the size of a fingernail and that’s still only enough for about 60-90 minutes of GoPro video. Never say never.

  2. What’s Apple’s interest in these higher bands? Do they intend to have products that use that band or are they simply trying to stop other companies like Google or Qualcomm from being able to get licenses and cut Apple out from freely using those bands? Apple must be really thinking far ahead. I doubt Apple will be quickly jumping on the use of 5G chips in their iPhones. All the top flagship Android smartphones will quickly adapt 5G to show that they’re miles ahead of Apple’s iPhone.

    1. I agree that Apple want to guard against the possibility that one or two comms companies might licence virtually all of that spectrum and then only allow access on their terms, which would probably not be to the advantage of customers and would certainly not suit Apple. However in the real world, money talks, especially when it comes to regulations, so the outcome might depend on how the money flows.

      I’m not sure exactly what purpose these super high frequencies are being earmarked for, the linked article doesn’t say much about it either. The frequency is so high that those radio waves behave more light light than like radio and anything obstructing a direct line of sight would block the signal.

    2. Google is hardware stupid and always has been, and Qualcomm has shot themselves in the head in recent times. Apple will execute better in all the ways that actually count. When compared to Samsung,Google or Qualcomm.

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