This is a divergence from extreme speeds using the sub-GHz band with lower bandwidth and better service in adjacent rooms. It is designed for 900 MHz operation which is an exempt band. The goal is for larger range compared to the 2.4 MHz and 5.8 MHz bands can handle.
900 MHz also uses a lot less energy for long range signals which is a benefit for mobile use. Sensor devices in forests can take advantage of the lower power and better range. The low power competes with bluetooth low energy but with much better range.
The most prominent aspects of 802.11ah is the behavior of stations that are grouped to minimize contention on the air media, use relay to extend their reach, use little power thanks to predefined wake/doze periods, are still able to send data at high speed under some negotiated conditions and use sectored antennas.
It uses 802.11a/g specification that is downsampled to provide 26 channels, each of them able to provide 100kbps throughput. It can cover a one-kilometer area. It aims at providing connectivity to thousands of devices under an access point.
Cellular offloading will benefit especially in rural areas.