Google's new Pixel phone has been pretty free of controversy since its release last month. No show-stopping software bugs; no severe hardware issues.
But like any phone release, there have been a few waves of protest by people saying their device isn't working well in a particular situation. One such situation is on several South American and Canadian carriers that rely on Band 4, also known as AWS, to transit signal over the air. According to a number of Pixel and Pixel XL owners, their phones have trouble staying connected to the network on that band, but the problem is not consistent nor does it appear to be widespread.
Many of the complainants live in South America, and subscribe to carriers like Claro that rely primarily on Band 4. Other people, such as Telus and Bell customers in Canada, have the same problem, but Band 4 is one of four possible frequency combinations used in many larger cities.
Google has acknowledged the connectivity instability, but isn't saying specifically what is the outright cause — and Google may not know, because it may go deeper down the rabbit hole, into the X12 baseband drivers supplied by Qualcomm.
The bigger problem is that with connectivity issues, it is often a caused by a combination of factors — signal strength, interference, handoff instructions, carrier aggregation protocols — that can't be traced to just one source. In other words, people are saying "the problem is with Band 4," but it's more likely that the problem is with merely most pronounced on that frequency. In the U.S., T-Mobile, AT&T and Verizon operate parts of their network on Band 4, and we haven't heard of any Americans with this problem.
Here at Android Central, we tried to simulate the issue on a number of devices, including those on T-Mobile in the U.S. and Bell in Canada. Throughout our testing, the Pixel's signal came through strong and consistent, and we could not reproduce the issue.
If you're experiencing LTE problems on the Pixel, let us know, but also know this: it is almost definitely a software problem and will almost certainly be fixed in a coming update.
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Daniel Bader was a former Android Central Editor-in-Chief and Executive Editor for iMore and Windows Central.