The Google Pixel 6a is shaping up to be one of the best sub-$500 smartphones of 2022, but like the Pixel 6 that came before it, the phone’s 5G support comes with a catch. While it’s much more widely available today than it was a couple of years ago, the entire state of 5G is still pretty complicated. There are various levels of 5G networks, only certain phones work with all of them, and it’s all more confusing than anyone would like.

But things are improving. Today, 5G service is readily available in all parts of the country — not just in major cities. Whether you’re in a small town or somewhere in the country, there’s a decent chance your phone will still have a 5G connection. Similarly, 5G support on smartphones is getting better all the time. In addition to major flagships supporting 5G, more affordable handsets also work with the newer connectivity.

Related: Google Just Teased The Pixel 7 & 7 Pro, Featuring A New Tensor Chipset

Such is the case with the Google Pixel 6a. One of the biggest draws to the 6a is its Google Tensor chipset — the same one used in the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro. That means the Pixel 6a has similarly fast performance, all of the same software features (like Magic Eraser and Face Unblur), and 5G support. Although it doesn’t have 5G explicitly in its name like the ‘Pixel 5a 5G’ did, the Google Pixel 6a does support 5G connectivity. There’s just a small catch to be aware of.

The Unlocked Pixel 6a Only Has Sub-6 5G

Google Pixel 6a render

If you purchase the Pixel 6a unlocked from the Google Store, that version of the phone will only work with sub-6 5G networks. Sub-6 5G is the lowest tier of 5G coverage. It’s not a dramatic speed increase over 4G LTE, but it’s also widely available in most of the same places where LTE already works. Verizon brands its sub-6 5G as ‘Nationwide 5G,’ T-Mobile calls it ‘Extended Range 5G,’ and it’s marketed simply as ‘5G’ on AT&T.

But what if you absolutely need mmWave 5G? In that case, you’ll need to purchase the Pixel 6a sold by Verizon. Verizon’s Pixel 6a variant supports sub-6 and mmWave 5G — but it does so at a $50 premium. Where the unlocked Pixel 6a costs $449, Verizon’s Pixel 6a will set you back $499. Similarly, AT&T has confirmed that it’ll have a version of the Pixel 6a that works with its 5G and 5G+ networks. AT&T hasn’t announced pricing details quite yet, but expect it to also be more expensive than the unlocked version.

As confusing as the whole situation is, it’s not one you need to worry about too much. Unless you live in a major city and need the fastest data speeds possible, the unlocked Pixel 6a with sub-6 5G should be more than enough for most people. Having the option for mmWave 5G is nice, but it’s not worth spending an extra $50 and getting locked to a carrier deal.