The Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL are now available, depending on where you’re getting your device. But what should be a good if not uneventful launch is now being marred by some unstated caveats. It turns out the Pixel 4 phones purchased from Verizon and even from Best Buy are locked to the carrier and have to be activated on Verizon before they can be unlocked for other networks after 24 hours at most.
This has become a problem on multiple levels. On the one hand, this was a lesser known change in Verizon’s policy of locking phones that only took effect earlier this month. Verizon’s policy on the matter is also rather unclear at the moment. In a nutshell, all phones acquired from the carrier have to be first activated on Verizon before they can be used on other networks, with a wait time of up to 24 hours.
It becomes a bit more complicated when you factor in the fact that Best Buy is selling Pixel 3 phones that are, in fact, locked to Verizon, in other words Verizon Pixel 3s. Either buyers were unaware of that or they presumed they could bypass the activation requirement that way anyway. Apparently not.
This causing early Pixel 3 buyers, especially those from Best Buy, some frustration. This could also be a potential problem for those buying the Pixel 3 from other retailers or from second hand sellers. Verizon has not yet clarified if it’s enough to stick in an active Verizon SIM to perform the activation but even the 24-hour wait might be a hassle.
This makes the Pixel 3 the first Pixel phone to be locker to a carrier, which some might find to be antithetical to the spirit of the Pixel. At the moment, the only way to get a truly unlocked Pixel 3 would be to buy it from the Google Store. Unfortunately, those won’t start shipping until later this month.