Verizon will allow all of its Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL phones to immediately be used on different carriers, a spokesperson has confirmed to The Verge by email. When the phone went on sale yesterday, buyers noticed that the Pixel 3 was locked to Verizon’s network until it was activated. Once activated with a Verizon SIM, the device would be unlocked overnight for use with other carriers.
But now Verizon is lifting the lock fully and immediately — but maybe only temporarily. “At launch, there was an update related to an automatic overnight unlock on Pixel 3s, which also showed up on phones sold in Best Buy stores,” the spokesperson said. “We have temporarily removed it from Pixel 3 and are assessing where it will be implemented in the future.”
This really most directly affects Best Buy customers; it’s not like you can walk into a Verizon store and just buy the phone without an account. Google is also operating pop-up stores that sell the Verizon Pixels, but it’s unclear whether they can be purchased without an account. I’ve emailed the company for details.
Earlier this year, Verizon announced that it would begin locking newly-purchased smartphones until they were activated on the company’s network. The measure, Verizon claims, is to prevent theft at its retail stores and those of its resellers. But because it’s the exclusive US carrier to offer Google’s new phones, the policy quickly ran into pushback upon yesterday’s release.
The Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL are also available unlocked directly from Google.