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Sub-6 GHz

Radio frequency bands below 6 GHz (6,000 MHz).

Prior to 2019, all radio frequency bands used for mobile phones were below 6 GHz.

5G introduced much higher-frequency mmWave bands, and thus the need for the term "sub-6 GHz" (sometimes just "sub 6") to distinguish existing bands from mmWave.

See: mmWave

See: 5G NR

While mmWave bands can support much faster data, they can't be used for broad coverage over large areas. Sub-6 frequencies can provide broad coverage.

Within the sub-6 GHz range are both low-band and mid-band frequencies.

The higher-frequency "mid-band" ranges within sub-6 generally offer the faster data service that can be associated with 5G service.

In the US, the lower-frequency "low-band" sub-6 GHz bands are generally the same bands used for 4G. In many cases, a band will be sub-divided and/or use dynamic sharing technology so that both 4G and 5G technology can use in the same band. 5G in these bands is sometimes not much faster than 4G.

Last updated May 2, 2023 by Rich Brome

Editor in Chief Rich became fascinated with cell phones in 1999, creating mobile web sites for phones with tiny black-and-white displays and obsessing over new phone models. Realizing a need for better info about phones, he started Phone Scoop in 2001, and has been helming the site ever since. Rich has spent two decades researching and covering every detail of the phone industry, traveling the world to tour factories, interview CEOs, and get every last spec and photo Phone Scoop readers have come to expect. As an industry veteran, Rich is a respected voice on phone technology of the past, present, and future.

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