Which 5G band will India choose? Sub-6GHz 5G band or superfast mmWave 5G


India is likely to choose the n78 5G band operating in the 3.3GHz to 3.8GHz operating on C-Band rather than the super fast mmWave 5G band

Almost all smartphone manufacturers are lining physical as well as online stores with 5G ready smartphones in India. OnePlus was first of the block with its OnePlus 8, OnePlus 8 Pro, and OnePlus Nord 5G smartphones. Other Android smartphone manufacturers are releasing/have released their 5G Android smartphones in India. Vivo IQOO 3, Xiaomi Redmi Note 10, Vivo Z6 5G, Realme 7 Pro, LG Q92 5G, BlackBerry 5G smartphone with a physical keyboard, Google’s Pixel 4a and Pixel 5Nokia’s 8.3 5G, 5.3, C3, 1.3, and Nokia 5310, and Reliance Jio’s 5G smartphones are all ready to woo the India smartphone buyers.

While there is no dearth of quality 5G smartphone brands, Indians are not quite sure which 5G smartphone to buy. This is because they don’t know the 5G band that will be operational in India. In this article, we will give you a reference to which 5G band the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) might choose when 5G finally becomes operational in India.

Indian telecom companies will be offering n78 5G band operating in 3.3GHz to 3.8GHz spectrum

In all probability, Indians will get the n78 5G band as the default 5G band in their smartphone though companies like Reliance Jio may implement their in-house own 5G technology to offer the superfast mmWave 5G to Jio customers, however, that is very unlikely. Why? Because the mmWave technology is very expensive to implement.

Here is a brief snapshot of different 5G bands and how they operate

There three 5G bands that operate around the world.

  • Low band 5G network
  • Mid-band 5G network
  • mmWave 5G network

Low Band 5G network

The Low band 5G network is the most inexpensive 5G network for the telecom companies to implement. One low band 5G tower can serve customers within hundreds of square miles, enabling coverage in even far-flung and rural locations. The low band 5G network can give you download speeds of up to 250 Mbps which four times more than the current 4G and LTE speeds. The lowest speed recorded on low band 5G network is 4 Mbps and the highest recorded speed is 245 Mbps. The low band 5G network tapers off as you move away from the 5G tower which means that the farther you stay from a low band 5G network tower, the slower your Internet will get. The low band operates in the 600 MHz, 700 MHz, 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1.5 GHz, 2.1 GHz, 2.3 GHz, and 2.6 GHz spectrum range.

Mid-band 5G network

Mid band 5G is the likeliest of the 5G bands that TRAI and the Government of India might select for India. It is also called “sub-6GHz” because the spectrum range doesn’t exceed 6500 MHz. The Mid-band network includes spectrum or radio frequencies ranging from 2GHz to 6GHz. T-Mobile in America uses 2.5GHz while Indian companies are expected to operate their 5G network between the 3.3GHz to 6GHz range.

The reason for choosing Mid-band for India is the cost of erecting the 5G towers. 5G towers built with mid-band radios can offer service within several-mile radiuses. The mid-band 5G requires towers to be erected at regular intervals unlike low-band but provide higher download speed than low-band 5G network.

The download speed in the mid-band 5G network is anywhere between 200 Mbps to 700 Mbps. The average speed of mid-band 5G is as good as the highest speed of low-band with those living near the tower experiencing download speeds of 600-700 Mbps.

High-band 5G or mmWave 5G network

This is the most costly network to implement and requires huge capital to implement. The mmWave or millimeter-wave towers have to be implemented at shorter distances. The maximum operation range of high band 5G antennas has increased from the one mile earlier to nearly 0.7 miles but implementing 5G towers at a distance of every half a mile will prove too costly even for big tech companies. The mmWave technology is still in development and certain types of glass and walls can block mmWave signals altogether making it unviable at present.

But when it gets implemented, the mmWave 5G network is a dream come true. If you’re near a mmWave tower, you can easily get a download speed in the range of 1 to 3Gbps. The upper limit is still being tested with Qualcomm and Samsung saying that their latest 5G modems can peak at over 7Gbps over mmWave.

The currently used 5G bands around the world

Geographical Area5G Frequency Band
Europe3400 – 3800 MHz (awarding trial licenses)
China3300 – 3600 MHz (ongoing trial)
China4400 – 4500 MHz
China4800 – 4990 MHz
Japan3600 – 4200 MHz
Japan4400 – 4900 MHz
Korea3400 – 3700 MHz
USA3100 – 3550 MHz
USA3700 – 4200 MHz


The mmWave is currently being used in only a handful of nations like the United States, South Korea, Japan, and some European countries.


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"The Internet is the first thing that humanity has built that humanity doesn't understand, the largest experiment in anarchy that we have ever had." Eric Schmidt

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