Google says it does not plan to update the software for the pixel 4a 5g or 5a to support c band 5g in the US despite also saying that the phone have the necessary hardware and that the functionality will work in the other countries. Google has not explained this decision which it announced in a post on the pixel support forums. Google has updated its latest pixels in the US the 6 and 6 pro with c band via a software update but not those older phones.
The post says that the earlier pixel models have c band capable hardware and are enabled for operation in certain countries but that the company does not have any plans to support c band operations in the US for those earlier pixel models.
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This news is frankly a bummer. When my colleague chris Welch tested Verizon c band network it was notably faster than 4g lite and most of the other 5g services the company provided. While c band is not as fast as mmwave it is got more range making it more viable for more customers. Its especially upsetting for the pixel 5 a flagship phone that is only one generation old and which already has the fcc approval to use c band.
Google did not immediately respond to an email from the verge asking why it would support c band in some countries but not other. In its post the company points out that the phones will still be able to use whatever sub 6 and mmwave 5g capabilities they had at launch. As always this serves as a reminder to not buy something based on qualities it may or may get in the future software update.