October 26, 2020

Here are all the 5G networks your Pixel 5 or Pixel 4a 5G can use

If the Pixel 4a 5G or Pixel 5 will be your first foray into America’s emergent 5G networks, you’ll want to know where you can take the phone you’ve bought — especially if you’re buying it directly from Verizon. So, let’s get to sorting those airwaves out.

All Pixel 4a 5G and 5 units will be able to hop on the most common type of 5G network where spectrum is located at or below 6GHz or “sub-6” as it is known. However, all U.S. Pixel 5 (model ID GD1YQ) and Verizon-sold Pixel 4a 5G (G6QU3) units will also be able to access high-band millimeter wave spectrum — supercharged throughput with extremely limited coverage.

If you’ve purchased a Pixel 5 in the U.S., you’ll be able to access both sub-6 and mmWave if you’re on AT&T’s (including Cricket Wireless and FirstNet) or U.S. Cellular’s (sub-6 now, mmWave later) network.

Cellular support for Pixel 4a 5G (U.S. unlocked on left, Verizon on right) with unique bands highlighted

The Verizon Pixel 4a 5G supports both its mmWave and eminent sub-6 networks, but is listed to not support any other 5G network — theoretically, that shouldn’t be true in many cases as the unlocked version only has four unique sub-6 frequency bands and shares compatibility on six others with the Verizon model. Google has acknowledged to us that users who bring the phone to another carrier may get it to work on some network bands. As it is, though, the device is certified for use only on Verizon.

As a sidecar and a nod to our international readers, you will be able to roam on other 5G networks if your SIM comes from Taiwan Mobile, T-Mobile Deutschland, and Vodafone in Germany, Ireland, Italy, and the U.K.

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