Since the first model’s launch in 2016, the Google Pixel has been exclusively available — at least in the United States — either unlocked via the Google Store or purchased through Verizon. Now we’ve seen evidence that another US carrier, T-Mobile, could begin carrying last year’s Google Pixel 3, and possibly the soon-to-launch Pixel 3a and Pixel 4 as well.
First, new information from a trusted source suggests that T-Mobile is gearing up to carry the Google Pixel 3 and 3 XL. The unlocked Pixel 3, and previous Pixel devices, have of course been fully compatible with the T-Mobile network since launch, but now we’ve seen evidence that T-Mobile will actually begin selling the device itself as well.
In separate but related news, we can confirm via another source familiar with the matter that T-Mobile has begun testing the Google Pixel 3a for compatibility with its network, signaling that the device will be supported by T-Mobile just as the previous three years of Google Pixel devices have. That’s not surprising at all, really.
Update: Android Police corroborates that T-Mobile is indeed planning to carry the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL, and adds that the Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL are also in the plan.
While we don’t have any information on whether T-Mobile will carry the Pixel 3a or Google Pixel 4, last year’s flagship Pixel 3 becoming available through the carrier suggests either device’s availability as possible. If Verizon exclusivity ends, perhaps the Google Pixel 4 could be the first Pixel flagship that’s available via US carriers other than Verizon.
Alternatively, there are scenarios in which T-Mobile may begin selling the Pixel 3 and 3 XL while Verizon still maintains some level of exclusivity. Perhaps the Google Pixel 4 will be available on more carriers than just Verizon, but Verizon will retain exclusivity with the Pixel 3a. Or perhaps the Pixel 3a and Pixel 4 will both remain exclusive to Verizon while last year’s model will start appearing elsewhere this year.
There’s a lot that’s still unclear, but regardless, it seems the Pixel’s carrier availability situation is about to change. While staying exclusive to Verizon has surely been a benefit for Google Pixel exposure in its first years, it could also be seen as a bottleneck to the lineup’s continued growth.
We talked more about this on last week’s Alphabet Scoop podcast, which you can find on Google Play, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, or your favorite podcast player. We often share exclusive tidbits on Alphabet Scoop first, so be sure to subscribe wherever you listen to podcasts.