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Snippet: Getting a Pixel 3 for Not-Verizon is a Pain (Unless You Order) ☇

Shared on October 18, 2018

Chris Welch for The Verge:

The Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL phones being sold by Verizon will not support SIM cards from other carriers unless they are first activated on Verizon’s network. A Verizon spokesperson confirmed this to The Verge, pointing to a new policy that the carrier implemented earlier this year to dissuade thieves from targeting its own retail stores and those of authorized resellers.

Once a Pixel 3 (or any of Verizon’s other current phones) is activated, the carrier will automatically unlock the device “overnight” that same day, according to the company. So there’s not much of a wait to get around this, but there is a wait all the same. Remember that Verizon is the exclusive carrier partner in the United States. So your only alternative — and the one folks on other carriers should definitely take — is buying direct from Google. Google seems to have a good handle on stock (with most storage and color options available within a week), but shipping isn’t immediate.

This policy presents a hurdle for anyone who was hoping to walk into say, a Best Buy, and try to buy a Pixel 3 outright at full price to use on their own carrier. (Most Best Buy stores probably wouldn’t even allow this, for the record.) But it’s also something to be aware of if you buy a new-in-box, unactivated Verizon Pixel 3 from someone online.

While I get Verizon has developed a reputation for having out-of-the-box unlocked phones (meaning they can be used on any carrier) and that has led to thieves targeting them, this seems like a mess. The notion of a “carrier exclusive” phone feels very 2006 and that means that you can only order a Pixel 3 if you wanted to use it on another carrier. While getting an unlocked iPhone at a retail store that isn’t Apple’s can be a bit just as messy, there are Apple stores in many reasonably populated areas.

It’s a shame since the Pixel 3, like its predecessors, is probably the best representation of Google’s view of Android. Even if Google’s sales targets are nowhere near what Samsung or LG are doing, I think they’re shooting themselves in the foot with the way the Pixel is being distributed. As they don’t have their own retail footprint like Apple, partner with Best Buy, Target, or even Walmart and sell it unlocked.

Update: Verizon changed their policy for the Pixel 3, at least temporarily.

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