October 26, 2020
Google's Pixel 4A 5G costs more on Verizon because of millimeter-wave

Google’s Pixel 4A 5G costs more on Verizon because of millimeter-wave


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The Pixel 4A 5G UW is the latest phone to get a Verizon premium because of 5G. 


James Martin/CNET

Google on Wednesday detailed its long-rumored (and leaked) Pixel 4A 5G and Pixel 5, making official what was pretty strong speculation (to put it nicely). Today’s announcement also revealed that Verizon’s version will once again cost more than the Pixel 4A 5G offered by its rivals. 

Called the Pixel 4A 5G UW, Verizon’s model runs $600 and follows a trend of some of its other 5G devices in that it’s customized with millimeter-wave antennas to tap into Verizon’s fastest 5G network. Like its other 2020 5G phones, the Pixel 4A 5G will also be capable of connecting to the carrier’s wider-coverage nationwide 5G network when it launches later this year. 


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On Google’s specs page, Verizon’s variant is otherwise identical to the non-millimeter-wave 5G counterparts listed. That version, which seems to be the one that AT&T and T-Mobile will carry and costs $499, is capable of connecting to low-band and midband 5G networks but not the faster millimeter-wave flavor.

Verizon confirmed to CNET that the only difference in its Pixel 4A 5G is the addition of millimeter-wave support. 

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Google’s Pixel 4A 5G.


Google

By adding millimeter-wave and creating its own special 5G version, the Pixel 4A 5G joins the Galaxy S20 5G UW, OnePlus 8 5G UW and LG Velvet 5G UW in having a Verizon premium attached. (Verizon calls its millimeter-wave 5G network “ultra wideband” which is why it adds a UW suffix to the custom variants.) While in some cases the special variations also mean an exclusive color option (as with the Galaxy S20 5G UW), that’s not the case here.

Read more: 5G’s many names explained

Phones that don’t need custom Verizon editions to add millimeter-wave, like the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 5G or the Pixel 5, are often priced the same at Verizon as they are at other carriers. These phones also don’t have a UW suffix. 

Given that the millimeter-wave 5G network is the only one it has active at the moment (in parts of 36 cities), all of Verizon’s 5G phones need to be able to connect to it. Whether that changes once Verizon’s low-band network finally launches remains to be seen, but for now, it’s another example of the growing pains that come with 5G.



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