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

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 Oct. 19 Pixel occasion, each appear poised to rival the iPhone 13 and the Galaxy S21 as the perfect telephones of 2021. They boast spectacular cameras, quick processors and trendy designs. The place Google seems to vary from its Apple and Samsung rivals, at the very least on the primary few days of preorders, is in whether or not its new telephones will work with the newest 5G networks. 

The quick reply? It is difficult, notably in the event you’re trying to purchase a cellphone instantly from a service or unlocked from Google itself, or from a 3rd get together like Greatest Purchase. Whereas you should purchase a brand new iPhone 13, put your SIM card in and know that it is going to be in a position to make use of the newest networks out of your service, the identical cannot be stated proper now in regards to the Pixel 6.

At situation seems to be deciphering a mixture of a number of unclear net pages from the search big. Google’s primary 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 mid- and low-band 5G) — and one other that helps Sub-6 networks however not millimeter-wave. 

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

It is a mess, however here’s what we all know proper now and what you must know in the event you’re considering of shopping for Google’s newest telephones.

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The difficult listing of US service help on Google’s Pixel help web page. 


Google/Screenshot by Eli Blumenthal/CNET

The Pixel mess

pixel-6-pro-9

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

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

And there does appear to be a discrepancy, each within the units 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, nevertheless, 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. The 6 Professional begins at round $900 from each Google and Verizon. 

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

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. For the 6 Professional, T-Cell helps all flavors of 5G, and the value is just like Google’s. 

On Wednesday afternoon Google confirmed to CNET that the unlocked Pixel 6 obtainable from its retailer will solely help Sub-6 5G networks in any respect three US carriers. The unlocked Pixel 6 Professional, nevertheless, will work with each millimeter-wave and Sub-6 variations of 5G. 

The totally different flavors of 5G

Google Pixel 6 Pro

James Martin/CNET

As individuals have been holding onto their telephones for longer, it is sensible that when shopping for a brand new gadget in the present day you may need it to be able to tapping into the newest 5G networks for the following few years.

US carriers, specifically 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, specifically, has been touting its millimeter-wave community (known as “Extremely Wideband”) in its early 5G advertising and marketing over the previous couple of years. 

T-Cell has accomplished 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 however it suffers from severely restricted protection, notably open air 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 affords the perfect protection and may work fantastic indoors, however it typically has speeds equal to a great 4G LTE connection. 

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

AT&T and Verizon have every spent billions of {dollars} this yr shopping for up midband spectrum often called C-band, and each plan to start deploying these networks on the finish of this yr and into early 2022. 

Each carriers stated on Oct. 19 that the Pixel 6 and 6 Professional they’re promoting needs to be appropriate with their respective C-band networks. T-Cell stated on Oct. 20 that each Pixel telephones would help its C-band community that is slated to begin rolling out on the finish of 2023

Google stated on Oct. 21 that unlocked Pixels will be capable of get a software program replace to allow help for C-band, however that it is going to be as much as the carriers to certify the unlocked telephones to permit the units to work on their respective networks. 

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

What do you have to do? 

At the moment, service help for the Pixel 6 is an enormous drawback. No person needs to purchase a cellphone, discover out it would not work as anticipated after which need to return it and undergo the method once more. However proper now the one approach to know you are getting a Pixel that works along with your service is to purchase instantly from that service. 

For T-Cell customers, the Pixel 6’s lack of a higher-frequency 5G equivalent to millimeter-wave is much from a deal-breaker for the common Pixel 6, at the very least within the quick time period. The service already has a sturdy midband 5G community, has probably not deployed millimeter-wave and its C-band community is not coming till the top of 2023. 

For these with AT&T or Verizon, in the event you’re capable of reap the benefits of a trade-in or improve deal, then shopping for instantly from the service won’t be a nasty possibility. The promotion and trade-in might offset the value distinction between shopping for from a service or shopping for from Google. 

Shopping for this fashion appears to be the most secure means to make sure that the Pixel you are getting will work with the foremost community enhancements each carriers are set to ship over the following few years.

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