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Verizon Google Pixel 3 is SIM-locked, even from Best Buy (Update: VZW unlocking all)

It's not clear if customer backlash caused Verizon to change its mind, or if it was always planned this way.

Published onOctober 19, 2018

Google Pixel 3

Update, October 19, 2018 (12:20PM EST): It’s not clear whether it’s from customer backlash or if it was always planned this way, but Verizon is apparently remotely SIM-unlocking all Google Pixel 3 devices right now, via Android Police. That means if you bought a Google Pixel 3 and previously tried to put a different carrier SIM card inside to no avail, it should work now or shortly in the future.

Going forward, this will likely mean buying a Verizon Google Pixel 3 will work with any carrier SIM out-of-the-box, just as with previous Pixel devices. That’s a relief!

Original Article, October 19, 2018 (03:52AM EST): If you thought about purchasing the Verizon variant of either the Pixel 3 or Pixel 3 XL because it would be easier to do so, you might want to rethink that decision.

The folks at Android Central recently purchased the Verizon version of the Pixel 3 XL through Best Buy. Disappointingly, they found that neither T-Mobile nor AT&T SIM cards worked. A thread on Reddit corroborated the report and added that a customer service representative said this was part of Verizon’s updated unlocking policy.

Droid Life reached out to Verizon, which confirmed the practice. If you buy the Pixel 3 or Pixel 3 XL through retailers, you must first activate the phone on Verizon. The carrier said the phones are “automatically unlocked overnight” if you request it, though it could be up to 24 hours before this happens.

Verizon implemented this policy as a way to deter device theft during shipment, though the policy also ignores the agreement the carrier made after it purchased Block C spectrum.

Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL review: The Android iPhone (Update: On sale for $600!)
Google Pixel 3 XL vs Pixel 3 screen

If you want an unlocked Pixel 3, the easiest way is to buy it from the Google Store, but this shouldn’t have to be the case. The previous Pixel phones were unlocked out of the box, including the Verizon variants, so you could just throw in whatever SIM card and they would work.

We’d avoid picking up the Verizon variants of the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL unless you’re happy to stick with that carrier, just to save yourself the unlocking hassle. 

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