T-Mobile updates Pixel 4a 5G, Pixel 5 with Standalone 5G support


Earlier this week, Google released an update that fixed the edge touch recognition issues on the Pixel 4a 5G. The February security patch also comes with T-Mobile Standalone (SA) 5G support for both the Pixel 4a 5G and Pixel 5. 

With the rollout of standalone architecture (SA), there is no need for 5G to operate and exist without LTE. This also means that signals can travel much further, and helps improve indoor/building penetration. When T-Mobile launched this network in August 2020, they promised that it will “immediately increase its 5G footprint by 30 percent.” 

And true enough, in areas with SA support, T-Mobile’s engineers have seen an improvement of up to 40% in latency during testing. And this is only just the start of what Standalone 5G could do.  

If you have either the Pixel 4a 5G or Pixel 5, you can check what NSA is in use by going to your Settings > About phone > SIM status > Mobile data network type. 

The February security patch with SA 5G support has not yet been rolled out to all Pixel 4a 5G and Pixel 5 devices in the US. The update is actually a separate build from T-Mobile/Sprint called RQ1C.210205.006. Make sure to check if the update is available on your device.


Source: 1


  • Wenjun Yu

    With the rollout of standalone architecture (SA), there is no need for 5G to operate and exist without LTE.

    There is no need without??

    • Jason Caprio

      Looks like an article typo. From the source:

      “With the launch of standalone architecture (SA), 5G can exist without and operate independently of LTE.”

      • Wenjun Yu

        Right. So I don’t understand why the author on this site had to alter a perfectly fine sentence and made it wrong.

  • emcdonald75

    I don’t understand. Without the Snapdragon X60 modem or an equivalent to support VoNR, won’t you always need to be in LTE range for voice calls? Or can the X55 modem and other 5G modems allow voice calls without LTE?

  • James Symmonds

    I’ve got a 4a 5G that I got from Google and I have the correct update but then I remembered we have to have a special sim card. So I guess I have to go get that today.

  • Mike Smith

    Hey – iPhone beta 14.5 has this too… and a LOT more people have iPhones. Why hasn’t that been covered?

    • Marc

      Possibly because it’s beta vs. stable on Android?

  • Robert Alverson

    How can you tell if you have the special SIM card?

    • Willie D

      It is an R15 SIM, it comes with ALL 5G phones in the box and it is required to be activated in order for you to connect to all 5G ervices. Not like 5G works much anyway so even if you have an old SIM in a 5G phone you’re not going to really miss anything in terms of speed or coverage since 5G is slower than LTE and standalone doesn’t actually give any increase in any coverage as claimed.

  • Color me unimpressed.

    T-Mobile coverage maps show 5G coverage here in San Francisco, but I’ve yet to get a 5G connection with my Pixel 4a (5G) anywhere in or around San Francisco, not even right next to a claimed 5G tower, even with the necessary R15 SIM.

    When I asked at a T-Mobile store what I had to do to get a 5G connection, the answer was “drive to Santa Clara” (over 40 miles away) because “there is no 5G service in San Francisco, only in parts of the South Bay and East Bay.”

    I filed a complaint with the FCC on the coverage map issue, and got a call in response from the T-Mobile “executive office” with a promise to check with the “network team” and get back to me, but I’ve not yet gotten that promised call back.