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Verizon says it’s fully committed to Google’s phones this year after rumor of a split

Verizon says it’s fully committed to Google’s phones this year after rumor of a split


The rumor is ‘not true,’ Google says

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Photo by Vjeran Pavic / The Verge

Verizon says it’ll continue to carry Google’s Pixel phones throughout 2020, rejecting a rumor that the carrier — and for many years, the Pixel’s biggest sales channel — was abandoning Google’s smartphone line due to sluggish sales.

“This story is completely untrue and Verizon is fully committed to supporting Google in 2020,” a Verizon spokesperson told The Verge. A Google spokesperson told us the story is “not true” as well.

Carrier support matters a lot for selling phones

The statement comes in response to a story published by Android Police late last night, reporting that Verizon has “no intention” of selling future Pixel phones. In light of Verizon’s statement, Android Police has retracted the story and said its source was likely looking at unreliable or outdated information.

While the end result is that the status quo is being maintained — Verizon will continue to sell Pixel phones, as it has since their launch — the firm response speaks to just how concerning this rumor was to Google. The story suggested a worrying lack of support for the Pixel line, which could have shaken confidence for customers who are interested in buying in.

The Pixel line has seen sluggish sales in recent years, only picking up after Google released a low-cost model last spring. The first three models were exclusive to Verizon in the US (though they could still be purchased unlocked), which limited their audience. Verizon provided a lot of the marketing push behind them, though, helping to get the phone line off the ground.

A great deal of phone sales happen through carriers, which makes maintaining their support so important. The Pixel 3A and 4 were the first Pixel models to be available across multiple carriers in the US, potentially opening them up to a much wider audience. Losing Verizon’s support would have been a huge hit — but it’s at least locked in for the rest of the year.

Google is expected to announce a lower-cost Pixel 4A in the next few months, followed by the Pixel 5 in its usual fall slot.