The entire iPhones in Apple’s iPhone 12 lineup may have Qualcomm modems that assist 5G, however potential patrons must know that not all 5G networks are equal. There’s the tremendous quick mmWave (millimeter wave) 5G and the slower however extra widespread Sub-6GHz 5G.

There have been combined rumors about which ‌iPhone 12‌ fashions will assist which 5G spectrums, however it seems that the quickest 5G expertise may very well be restricted to the higher-end ‌iPhone 12‌ Professional fashions, and even simply the 6.7-inch model. This information highlights the variations between mmWave and Sub-6GHz 5G that will help you resolve between the ‌iPhone 12‌ and 12 Professional fashions.

mmWave vs. Sub6GHz Defined

5G is fifth-generation mobile wi-fi, succeeding the 4G LTE networks that we’ve been connecting to since 2010. There are two sorts of 5G networks: mmWave, which is the super-fast 5G that most individuals are speaking about after they speak about 5G pace enhancements, and sub-6GHz, the 5G that most individuals are going to expertise in the interim.

Smartphones transmit sound and knowledge over the air utilizing electromagnetic radio frequencies, with these frequencies organized into totally different frequency bands. A few of these bands have extra capability than others and are in a position to ship info quicker, which is the case with mmWave.

mmWave refers to larger frequency radio bands starting from 24GHz to 40GHz, and Sub-6GHz refers to mid and low-frequency bands beneath 6GHz. Low-frequency bands are beneath 1GHz, whereas mid-bands vary from 3.4GHz to 6GHz and usually are not thought of “mmWave.”

mmWave 5G networks are ultra-fast, however they’re additionally ultra-short vary. To make use of mmWave expertise, you could be inside a couple of block of a 5G tower, which isn’t possible in suburban and rural areas. mmWave spectrum can be blocked and obscured by doorways, home windows, timber, and partitions, additional limiting its accessible vary, and since it requires so many towers for protection, it’s costly for carriers to deploy.

Due to its restricted vary, accessing mmWave spectrum has solely change into doable over the course of the previous few years as a result of technological developments like Large MIMO, adaptable beamforming, and miniaturization of complicated antenna processing capabilities, and mmWave continues to be nascent expertise that’s within the means of being adopted.

mmWave’s limitations make it finest suited to dense, city areas, or particular focused spots like airports or concert events. In rural and suburban areas, mmWave expertise is just not sensible as a result of it doesn’t have sufficient vary, which is the place the Sub-6GHz networks are available. Sub-6GHz 5G is quicker than 4G, but it surely doesn’t provide the blazing-fast speeds that you could get with mmWave. Because it has an extended vary and may higher penetrate objects, it’s rather more inexpensive for carriers to implement.

With an iPhone that helps each mmWave and Sub-6GHz, it is possible for you to to make the most of lightning-quick 5G speeds the place mmWave expertise is accessible, whereas different 5G protection will likely be much like the extra trendy LTE networks which were rolling out over the previous few years. With an ‌iPhone‌ that solely has Sub-6GHz, you’ll be capable to use probably the most extensively accessible 5G networks, however will likely be blocked off from the quicker mmWave that could be accessible in cities.

Over time, low-band and mid-band 5G speeds ought to get a lot faster identical to LTE did because it developed, however these extremely quick speeds that individuals count on from 5G are mmWave speeds and are rather more restricted in availability.

Velocity Variations

mmWave spectrum can ship theoretical speeds as excessive as 5Gb/s, which is far, a lot quicker than the speeds achievable with LTE connectivity.

In follow, early mmWave networks have been delivering speeds that max out at round 2Gb/s, however as we discovered after we examined Verizon’s mmWave community with a Samsung smartphone in Chicago in mid-2019, speeds differ drastically primarily based in your place and proximity to the closest 5G tower.


LTE networks are a lot slower. The truth is, Tom’s Information not too long ago checked out LTE speeds and noticed high obtain speeds of 53Mb/s on Verizon, however most carriers had been nearer to 35Mb/s.

Sub-6GHz networks fall someplace in between mmWave and LTE speeds. Dash’s Sub-6GHz community (which is now T-Cellular’s), for instance, has seen most speeds of about 200Mb/s. An excellent LTE connection can hit these speeds, however realistically, Sub-6GHz 5G is quicker than most individuals will see with LTE, although not reaching these unimaginable speeds doable with mmWave.

OpenSignal in August 2020 analyzed real-world 5G speeds in a number of nations (utilizing smartphones that at present assist 5G), and the pace outcomes for america could be stunning to those that expect main pace positive aspects from 5G. Common obtain speeds on 5GHz networks had been round 50.9Mb/s, in comparison with 28.9 Mb/s on LTE, and that’s as a result of many of the protection within the U.S. is Sub-6GHz at the moment.


Different nations have extra superior 5G networks and may present some perception into the pace enhancements we might realistically see inside the subsequent few years. On common, OpenSignal discovered 5G connectivity to be between 1.4x and 14.3x quicker than 4G, however this knowledge doesn’t separate mmWave 5G from Sub-6GHz 5G.

One different fascinating metric OpenSignal famous was time related to 5G networks. In america, smartphone house owners with gadgets that assist 5G spent simply 19.Three % of the time related to 5G networks due to their restricted availability.

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Apple staff which were testing the 5G iPhones not too long ago (and confidentially) instructed Bloomberg that the 5G speeds have been disappointing as the present 5G networks usually are not “bettering connection speeds a lot.” Most people who find themselves anticipating their iPhones to ship super-fast mmWave speeds will seemingly find yourself equally dissatisfied after they discover that mmWave networks simply aren’t accessible in most locations.

mmWave Availability

In america, all three main carriers are testing mmWave assist, but it surely’s nonetheless accessible in a restricted capability. It’s in choose main cities and never even citywide – it’s restricted to pick neighborhoods.

With Sub-6GHz, it’s already extra widespread with AT,amp;T and T-Cellular rolling out lower-spectrum 5G networks which are accessible to many extra prospects.

Which iPhones Will Assist mmWave?

Early ‌iPhone 12‌ rumors confirmed that each one 2020 iPhones will assist 5G networks, however the query of mmWave vs. Sub-6GHz assist is one thing that’s nonetheless not totally clear. mmWave 5G expertise is dear and it’s power-intensive, each of which imply that it’s unlikely to be a blanket function included in all ‌iPhone‌ fashions.

Rumors now recommend that the higher-end ‌iPhone 12‌ Professional fashions will be the solely ‌iPhone‌ fashions to assist mmWave 5G expertise, and solely in sure nations, as a result of it doesn’t make sense to roll out the function in locations the place mmWave spectrum simply isn’t in use.

One current rumor from Quick Firm says that mmWave assist will likely be restricted to the 6.7-inch ‌iPhone‌ as a result of it’s the one ‌iPhone‌ that has the house for the required {hardware} and a bigger battery, so it’s doable a single ‌iPhone‌ may have mmWave connectivity to start out.

Potential mmWave iPhone Delays

All of Apple’s iPhones are launching later than anticipated, one thing that Apple confirmed in late July, however even with the delay, rumors point out we’re going to see a staggered launch.

The extra inexpensive ‌iPhone 12‌ fashions are anticipated to come back out forward of the ‌iPhone 12‌ Professional fashions, and since rumors recommend the ‌iPhone 12‌ Professional fashions may have mmWave assist, it sounds just like the “Professional” mmWave iPhones are going to come back out after the usual ‌iPhone 12‌ fashions restricted to Sub-6GHz connectivity.

Do I Want the mmWave 5G Connectivity?

In a nutshell, no, most individuals don’t want mmWave connectivity, nor will most individuals even entry to it frequently for the subsequent a number of years to come back.

Full mmWave 5G connectivity continues to be within the means of rolling out, and it continues to be restricted in scope. It’s solely accessible in main cities in america, and in most of these main cities, it’s not accessible in every single place and is in choose areas.

The transition from 4G to 5G began in 2019 and there’s nonetheless a methods to go, so most individuals are going to have the ability to get by with out mmWave speeds. To know whether or not mmWave expertise is value it for you personally, it’s a good suggestion to lookup your service and see if mmWave spectrum has even rolled out the place you reside.

Verizon, for instance, has 5G in cities like Atlanta, San Diego, San Jose, New York, Windfall, Chicago, Omaha, Salt Lake Metropolis, Phoenix, and extra, however connectivity is proscribed by particular neighborhoods and landmarks.

Trying simply at one metropolis, San Diego, dependable 5G is accessible in Mission Valley, and aside from that, elements of Linda Vista, Kensington, and Banker’s Hill, which is an especially restricted space. The identical is true of most different cities the place 5G is being examined. Verizon has solely rolled out mmWave tech at the moment, and its sub-6GHz networks are nonetheless within the works.

AT,amp;T has rolled out “5G” to 80 million prospects in 80 markets, however most of this 5G protection is just not mmWave protection, and, in truth, is a quicker model of LTE that isn’t even technically actual 5G. AT,amp;T’s mmWave community (which it calls 5G+) turned accessible in March 2020 and it may be present in choose areas in 35 cities in america. Particulars can be found on AT,amp;T’s website, however mmWave protection is as restricted as Verizon’s proper now.

T-Cellular is usually specializing in Sub-6GHz 5G spectrum, and can restrict mmWave expertise to dense city areas.

5G info for the main carriers in america is linked beneath so you possibly can see the protection in your specific service in your space.

In case you don’t spend a whole lot of time in one of many particular neighborhoods in one of many cities the place your service gives 5G expertise, you’re not going to profit from mmWave speeds and buying a mmWave ‌iPhone‌ shouldn’t be a significant concern at the moment. In case you do stay in a significant city space with a whole lot of mmWave 5G towers, you possibly can see advantages from an ‌iPhone‌ that helps the quicker expertise.

Carriers are, after all, going to proceed constructing out their mmWave networks and in a number of years it may very well be rather more widespread, which is a consideration for many who take future-proofing under consideration when making an ‌iPhone‌ buy. However even years from now, mmWave continues to be more likely to be restricted in scope and accessible solely in additional city areas and Sub-6GHz is the 5G most individuals will know and connect with.

Take into account that some carriers are charging extra for 5G proper now. Verizon, for instance, is pricing 5G plans $10 larger than comparative 4G limitless plans. AT,amp;T and T-Cellular aren’t charging larger costs but, however that would change as 5G additional expands.

Information Suggestions

Have questions on mmWave vs. Sub-6GHz 5G connectivity or wish to provide suggestions on this information? Ship us an e-mail right here. If you wish to know extra about Apple’s 5G iPhone plans, make certain to take a look at our 5G iPhone information and our iPhone 12 roundup.

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