Will Google’s Pixel 6 and 6 Professional work with 5G? The reply is sophisticated

Pixel 6 Pro is the premium phone Google needs right now

The Pixel 6 Professional. 

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Google’s new Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Professional, launched at Google’s October Pixel occasion Tuesday, each appear poised to rival the iPhone 13 and the Galaxy S21 as one of the best telephones of 2021. They boast spectacular cameras, quick processors and trendy designs. The place Google seems to vary from its Apple and Samsung rivals, a minimum of on the primary day of preorders, is in whether or not its new telephones will work with the newest 5G networks. 

The quick reply? It’s extremely sophisticated, significantly if you happen to’re trying to purchase a cellphone instantly from a service or unlocked from Google itself, or from a 3rd social gathering like Finest Purchase. Whereas you should purchase a brand new iPhone 13, put your SIM card in and know that will probably be in a position to make use of the newest networks out of your service, the identical cannot be mentioned proper now concerning the Pixel 6.  

At challenge seems to be deciphering a mixture of a number of unclear internet pages from the search large. Google’s essential Pixel 6 and 6 Professional tech specs pages all listing two totally different fashions: one which helps all flavors of 5G — millimeter-wave and “Sub-6” (which is a time period that encompasses midband and low-band 5G) — and one other that helps Sub-6 networks however not millimeter-wave. 

A assist web page, in the meantime, says that the Pixel 6 will assist all flavors of 5G within the US whereas the 6 Professional will probably be restricted to only the millimeter-wave taste. 

It is a mess, however here’s what we all know proper now and what you need to know if you happen to’re considering of shopping for Google’s newest telephones.


The sophisticated listing of US service assist on Google’s Pixel assist web page. 

Screenshot by Eli Blumenthal/CNET

The Pixel mess


Andrew Hoyle/CNET

With the Pixel 6, Google seems to be sending blended messages. Relying on which web page and high-quality print you have a look at, the gadget could or could not work with all variations of your service’s 5G community.

And there does appear to be a discrepancy, each within the gadgets and the pricing. Verizon confirmed to CNET that purchasing a Pixel 6 or 6 Professional instantly from Verizon will get you a cellphone that works on all of its flavors of 5G, millimeter-wave and Sub-6. 

There’s, nonetheless, a premium for the Verizon Pixel 6. When shopping for instantly from Verizon the cellphone will value you $700, or roughly $100 greater than Google fees for an unlocked Pixel 6 bought instantly from the Google Retailer. In fact, whether or not that unlocked Pixel 6 for $100 much less will work with Verizon’s millimeter-wave community stays a thriller. 

The 6 Professional begins at round $900 from each Google and Verizon. 

AT&T tells CNET one thing related. When shopping for instantly from AT&T, each the Pixel 6 and 6 Professional will assist millimeter-wave and Sub-6 variations of 5G. AT&T’s challenge? Its pricing begins at $740 for the Pixel 6 and $940 for the 6 Professional, each greater than what Google fees for unlocked variations. A consultant for the service didn’t share a motive why its pricing is dearer. 

Like its rival, AT&T couldn’t verify if the unlocked fashions would work with all flavors of its 5G. 

T-Cell, in the meantime, matches Google’s pricing of $599 for the Pixel 6 however its mannequin solely helps the midband and low-band variations of 5G, not millimeter-wave. The 6 Professional, which helps all flavors of 5G on the service, is equally priced to what Google fees. It stays unclear what networks an unlocked mannequin may connect with. 

Google has not responded to a number of CNET requests for remark. 

The totally different flavors of 5G

Google Pixel 6 Pro

James Martin/CNET

As folks have been holding onto their telephones for longer intervals of time, it is sensible that when shopping for a brand new gadget immediately you will have it to be able to tapping into the newest 5G networks for the following few years.

US carriers, particularly Verizon and AT&T, have been actively deploying millimeter-wave 5G throughout components of a number of dozen cities (plus stadiums, arenas and airports) across the nation. Verizon, particularly, has been touting its millimeter-wave community (referred to as “Extremely Wideband”) in its early 5G advertising over the previous few years. 

T-Cell has finished some millimeter-wave 5G rollouts, however has largely targeted on the opposite Sub-6 types of 5G. 

Millimeter-wave is the quickest model of 5G. It has obtain speeds that may attain a number of gigabits per second nevertheless it suffers from severely restricted protection, significantly outside the place it may be restricted to just some choose blocks in a metropolis or sections in a stadium. It additionally struggles to penetrate indoors. 

Low-band 5G presents one of the best protection and may work high-quality indoors. nevertheless it typically has speeds equal to an excellent 4G LTE connection. 

Midband 5G, as its identify implies, presents a center floor between the 2: considerably quicker speeds than 4G LTE whereas nonetheless protecting a wider space and dealing indoors. T-Cell has been essentially the most lively of the US carriers with deploying midband 5G to this point (what it calls Extremely Capability), and has beforehand mentioned it plans to cowl 200 million folks nationwide with this service earlier than the top of 2021. 

AT&T and Verizon have every spent billions of {dollars} in latest months shopping for up midband spectrum often known as C-band, with each planning to start deploying the networks beginning on the finish of this yr and into early 2022. 

Each carriers have advised CNET that the Pixel 6 and 6 Professional needs to be suitable with their respective C-band networks. T-Cell did not instantly reply when requested if its Pixel telephones would assist its C-band community because of begin arriving on the finish of 2023

Learn extra: 5G Extremely Wideband, 5G UC, 5G Plus– we clarify the service 5G names

What must you do? 

The service assist for the Pixel 6 is an enormous downside. No one needs to purchase a cellphone, discover out it would not work as anticipated after which must return it and undergo the method once more. Sadly, proper now the one solution to know you are getting a Pixel that works along with your service is to purchase instantly from that service. 

In case you’re capable of reap the benefits of a trade-in or improve deal this may not be a nasty possibility, significantly at AT&T or Verizon the place the deal may offset the value distinction between shopping for from a service or shopping for from Google. 

As for purchasing instantly from Google? It’s possible you’ll need to maintain off till the corporate clarifies what’s going on.

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