Russia can legalize a technology that allows data transfer between mobile devices faster than via Bluetooth, search for lost items and even send “by air” keys to apartments and cars between users… As Izvestia found out, next week, at the request of Apple, the State Commission for Radio Frequencies (SCRF) plans to consider increasing the permissible power of radio electronic devices in the 6 GHz range to use UWB technology. Chips supporting it are installed in the latest iPhone models. A relatively small increase in power at these frequencies, but necessary for the use of the technology, was agreed by all relevant departments, it follows from the materials of the commission. Experts doubt that the opening of UWB will provoke increased demand for the iPhone any time soon. But this is a good start for the future, they stressed.
At a meeting of the SCRF, scheduled for the end of November, the issue of increasing the allowable power in the 6 GHz range for the use of UWB (Ultra-Wide Band, wireless communication technology) technology in short-range devices may be considered. This follows from the materials of the commission, which Izvestia got acquainted with. The application was submitted by the Russian representative office of the Apple Rus corporation. To satisfy it, the SCRF may change its own decision from 2007 by raising the permissible radiation power of such devices, a source in the communications market explained to Izvestia. This is necessary for the launch in Russia of the UWB technology implemented in the iPhone 11, 12 and 13. They are equipped with branded chips Apple U1, said the source of Izvestia, as well as an employee of a partner company of several electronics manufacturers.
The relevant departments, including the power ones, gave positive opinions on increasing the power at the indicated frequencies upon request. “Apple Rus”, follows from the materials of the State Committee for Radio Frequencies.
An Apple spokesman declined to comment.
The Ministry of Telecommunications, which oversees the work of the State Committee for Radio Frequencies, told Izvestia that The preparatory materials of the SCRF, which are being worked out in one way or another, are undergoing an approval procedure with various departments and organizations, as a result of which both the wording and the specific conditions for the use of frequency bands may undergo changes.
Photo: Izvestia / Zurab Javakhadze
“In this regard, the Ministry of Finance cannot provide explanations on the texts that appear under the guise of draft decisions of the SCRF until the corresponding texts are approved by the SCRF,” said the representative of the department.
Izvestia also sent a request to Roskomnadzor.
UWB can transfer data between mobile devices faster than usual Bluetooth… But in practice technology is more often used to determine the location of people and objects in the immediate vicinity. Professionals such as firefighters and rescuers use it for local geolocation.
Ordinary users can use UWB to search for missing things to which electronic tags are attached: they allow you to accurately determine their location even inside an apartment, says one of Izvestia’s interlocutors. Finally, UWB can be used to open secure electronic locks. In this case, a smartphone plays the role of a key to an apartment, car, office, hotel room, he said. Users can digitally send such keys to each other, limit their validity, and so on.
Last year, the option to open the car using a smartphone was jointly demonstrated by Apple and BMW. Other automakers are also interested in such a solution, said one of the participants in the communications market.
Photo: Global Look Press / Sven Hoppe
– At the same time such GKRCH solution will open up the opportunity to use UWB technology for other device manufacturers… So, Samsung has a similar solution, – said the interlocutor of Izvestia. – UWB technology is also used as a basis for sensors, for example, movement or respiration, which became very important during the pandemic.
In November 2020, GKRCH allowed Apple to test equipment with UWB with a power exceeding the one allowed in Russia.… Frequencies in the 6 GHz band overlap with the bands in which fixed wireless internet and microwave radio transceivers operate, and theoretically UWB devices could create them interference, said one of the organizers of the tests. But there was no interference – the capacities of the UWB chip in the iPhone and, for example, the radio relay system are incomparable. These low power levels and the inconsistent use in practice make such devices invisible to other radio communications systems, he explains.
– UWB is more of a niche technology and will be important to a very narrow circle of buyers, and therefore its implementation is unlikely to affect the decision to buy an iPhone. This is not the scale of 5G, – said Mikhail Dogadin, vice president for procurement and development of Svyaznoy.
Photo: Izvestia / Zurab Javakhadze
It is unlikely that the legalization of UWB in Russia will immediately lead to an increase in demand for “apple” smartphones – there are no products and applications that use this technology that are of interest to the mass market.… But the opening of access to frequencies for this technology is a good foundation for the future, believes the CEO of TelecomDaily Denis Kuskov. If, for example, automakers start using it within a few years, UWB in smartphones may be in great demand, the expert says. In his opinion, the very fact of considering the issue of opening 6 GHz in the Russian Federation for the iPhone indicates that Russian authorities are trying to be flexible in relations with foreign IT companies.
– On the one hand, the state puts forward a number of requirements to such structures – for example, on November 22, Roskomnadzor included Apple in the register of companies that are required to open an office authorized to communicate with the authorities in the Russian Federation, on the other, at the request of the company, they can soon provide the frequencies necessary for UWB, – said Denis Kuskov.
The expert also recalled that recently the “apple” corporation opened the opportunity to add Mir cards to Apple Pay, agreed with officials on the implementation of the law on the pre-installation of domestic software on gadgets on terms acceptable both for themselves and for state regulators. All this testifies to the fact that foreign IT companies, conducting a constructive dialogue with the authorities, can quite comfortably do business in Russia, he concluded.