Explained: What are 5G bands in a smartphone and why they matter

5G network support is among the factors that many buyers take into account before choosing their new smartphone. Although 5G is not available in the country yet, it is one of India’s most awaited mobile network technologies. As the next-generation network is already available in several countries, smartphones with 5G connectivity have been in the market for quite some time. Most phones launched in India in the past two years have support for 5G connectivity and this will help faster adoption of the network when it rolls out. The speed of the network on the smartphones depends on the 5G bands available on the device. But what are 5G bands? To understand this, you need to know about 5G first.
What is 5G
5G is a global wireless network standard that succeeds 4G. In simple terms, it can be considered as the 5th generation of networks. The next-generation network is not only limited to smartphones but it is also used in robots, machines, smart cars, and several other things. The 5G network is strikingly faster than the 4G network. The main advantage of 5G networks is that it offers greater bandwidth, giving higher download speeds. It is worth noting that smartphones with 4G capability alone are not able to use the new networks, which require 5G-enabled wireless devices.
What are 5G bands
The increased speeds in 5G networks is achieved by taking help from additional higher-frequency radio waves in addition to the low and medium-band frequencies used in previous cellular networks.
The low-band 5G offered download speeds a little higher than 4G as it uses a similar frequency range to 4G cellphones, 600–900 MHz. Cell towers for low-band frequencies provide range and coverage area similar to 4G towers.
The mid-range 5G band is the most preferred band among the three as it uses microwaves of 2.3–4.7 GHz, allowing speeds of 100–900 Mbit. Cell towers for mid-band frequencies provide range up to several kilometers in radius. As low-band frequencies are already used by 4G and 3G networks, mid-band frequencies are widely available. This band also offers quite high download speeds as compared to the 4G network.
The high-band 5G uses frequencies of 24–47 GHz. This band offers the maximum speeds but higher-frequency radio waves have a shorter useful physical range.
The 5G bands support in a smartphone determines the speed and quality of 5G networks. That is why most smartphones use mid-range 5G bands as they get good connectivity and download speeds. Few smartphones also offer both mid-range and high-range bands to allow buyers to have the best of 5G network. Most popular 5G bands in smartphones in India are N77 and N78. Both of these bands rest in the mid-range. Having said that, there are phones available in the market that offer around 13 5G bands but you should know that the band-frequency matter more than the number of bands offered.