According to sources familiar with T-Mobile's plans, the company will announce either today or tomorrow that the Google Pixel will be displayed in some T-Mobile retail locations. The device will not be sold at T-Mobile retail locations (or T-Mobile's website). Instead, store employees will direct customers to the Google Store (and help them with the process) or Best Buy to complete their transaction. The "carrot" for T-Mobile here is obviously that it hopes to gain subscribers, and sales reps will be pushing the provider's current Pixel promotion as part of the pitch to customers. It is unclear if T-Mobile eventually plans to sell the phone directly.
The Google Pixel does support advanced network features like VoLTE, HD Voice, and Wi-Fi calling on T-Mobile, and CEO John Legere has actively promoted the company's Pixel promo on Twitter.
The deal between Google and T-Mobile will almost certainly aggravate Verizon, who have been heavily marketing the Pixel as a Verizon exclusive. Google and T-Mobile's arrangement will circumvent that "exclusive" by virtue of T-Mobile not technically being a carrier retail partner. This begs several questions. Is Google starting to regret getting tied to a single carrier? Are other providers showing significant interest in selling the device themselves? Does the Verizon deal have an expiration date?
Unfortunately, we probably won't be getting answers any time soon. The fact that T-Mobile is willing to try this cross-promotion experiment with Google really could go either way on conclusions: That T-Mobile is gearing up to eventually sell the Pixel itself, or the opposite - that T-Mobile will never be able to sell it directly, and this is as good a deal as they can hope to get.
We'll be reaching out to Google and T-Mobile for comment.
T-Mobile did not provide useful comment, and would neither confirm nor deny the new retail initiative.