Understand 5G compatibility & roaming on Pixel phones

5G mobile networks let you use more bandwidth than 4G. With more bandwidth, you can get faster speeds.

To confirm that you have a phone and carrier that supports 5G, you’ll need to buy a data plan and get a SIM for 5G, like other mobile services. 5G connections need a 5G data plan from a carrier with a 5G network where you use your phone. Find your phone’s configuration and capabilities in our tech specs.

5G service, speed, and performance can vary widely and depend on factors like:

  • Carrier network type, capabilities, and traffic
  • Phone model
  • Location, like rural or city, and near or far from your network’s antennas
  • Signal obstructions, like buildings, walls, and some phone cases

Ask your carrier about its 5G area, speeds, and support for your phone model. Only some carriers offer 5G service. Their 5G areas may be in smaller areas than their other services.

Tip: When 5G service isn't available, Pixel phones with 5G fall back to 4G and lower networks.

Learn how to fix mobile network issues.

How to check 5G connectivity in your area

When your phone is within an area where 5G service is available, a 5G icon shows in your status bar. The icon shows for all 5G bands and networks. On phones that can work with mmWave networks, carrier-specific icons may show.

Types of 5G

Carriers offer 2 kinds of 5G networks:

  • mmWave: High-band “millimeter wave” (mmWave). Newer Pixel phones, including Pixel 4a (5G), support a wide range of major carriers with 5G networks. Availability and speed of 5G service depend on carrier support, data plans, phone model, and user location. Check with your carrier for availability.
  • Sub-6: Other 5G networks are “below 6 GHz” (Sub-6) 5G. Sub-6 is the most common type of 5G. “Dynamic Spectrum Sharing” (DSS) is a kind of Sub-6 5G that shares some 4G frequencies.

For a phone that can work with either mmWave or Sub-6 service, the carrier network decides which service that phone uses at any time.

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