Google unlocks 5G access on its Pixel smartphones in new select regions

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Google is gradually allowing its Pixel smartphones to latch onto the 5G network in select regions. The search giant hasn’t allowed all Pixel smartphones with 5G hardware to access 5G networks. Also, neither do all supported devices work with 5G networks wherever it is available.

The Pixel lineup, starting from Pixel 4a (5G), and going all the way up to the latest Pixel 8 Pro, will be able to work with 5G networks in select countries. Essentially, Google is slowly unlocking the 5G modems in these devices and it appears to be dragging its feet with the rollout.

Google Pixel Android smartphone lineup is now 5G capable in 38 countries

Google maintains a list of countries where 5G is available on its Pixel-branded Android smartphones. The company recently updated the list.

Google has added seven more countries to the list, taking the tally to 38 countries where Pixel smartphones will be able to latch on to 5G networks. Google advertises this feature as “5G on your Pixel”, and the list has the following seven new European regions: Croatia, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Latvia, Liechtenstein, and Slovakia.

It is strange to note that Google does not officially sell its latest Pixel phones in the newly added markets. Google sells the Pixel 8 series through official Google Stores in just 20 countries. According to 9to5Google, these include Austria, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Ireland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Switzerland, Taiwan, Norway, Portugal, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, the UK, and the United States.

Simply put, Google’s Pixel smartphones, starting from the Pixel 4a (5G), will be able to latch on to 5G networks in 18 countries where quite a few of the devices aren’t even officially available, or sold through authorized resellers.

Why is Google restricting 5G availability?

The rapidly expanding 5G networks promise blazing-fast connectivity speeds. Additionally, starting from 4G, telecom companies have been able to offer VoLTE and Wi-Fi calling on supported smartphones.

Hence, restricting the availability of 5G, especially when the hardware supports the same, doesn’t make much sense. After all, the availability of reliable 5G networks is majorly the responsibility of telecom service providers.

Google hasn’t offered any reason for the restrictive and slow rollout. Some experts argue certification and testing could be the reason behind the delay. However, this still does not explain why Google is unlocking 5G access in regions where Pixel smartphones aren’t officially available.

It is possible that Google is engaged in a complex distribution strategy and could be negotiating with telecom companies. The search giant may be expanding 5G availability after realizing several users are purchasing Pixels through unofficial channels.

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