Hello! If you've arrived at this post, it may be because you're considering buying a Google Pixel and are wondering if it works on your wireless carrier. This is a fair question, as many smartphones only work on certain carriers here in the US. You may also be wondering what the deal is with the Verizon version of the Google Pixel, versus one you buy from the Google Store, Project Fi, or Best Buy. The good news is that there actually isn't much to know: every version of the Google Pixel sold in the United States is SIM unlocked and works on every major carrier, including Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile, and AT&T.
Yes, even the one you bought from Verizon. Even the one from Best Buy, where the Best Buy salesperson told you it was a Verizon phone that only works on Verizon. It is not. He is wrong. There is no version of the Google Pixel officially sold in the United States that is locked to or incompatible with any of the major four carriers. Here's the situation broken down for each retailer.
- I bought my phone from Best Buy. It is unlocked and works on all four major US carriers.
- I bought my phone from Verizon. It is unlocked and works on all four major US carriers.
- I bought my phone from the Google Store. It is unlocked and works on all four major US carriers.
- I bought my phone from Project Fi. It is unlocked and works on all four major US carriers.
- I bought my phone from some guy / some other place on the internet. Check the model number on the back, if it is either 'G-2PW4100' or 'G-2PW2100' it is unlocked and works on all four major US carriers. If it is not, it will likely not work on Sprint or Verizon (and is probably a global model).
You may say, "David, this seems rather redundant - if it works on all four carriers no matter where you got it, why bother to explain?"
Well, that's because Verizon has gone out of its way to make it seem like there might be some kind of reason you need to use your Pixel on Verizon with its "only on Verizon" ads that are all plastered all over America at the moment. These ads, however, are not indicating any sort of network limitations or SIM lock policy.
The single, solitary difference between the 'Verizon' Pixel and the 'Google Store / Project Fi' Pixel is that the Verizon Pixel has a locked bootloader. That's it (the version sold by Best Buy is the Verizon version, by the way, and thus has a locked bootloader). A locked bootloader does not in any way affect what carrier you can use the phone on. You can go buy a Pixel from Verizon today, cancel your Verizon service tomorrow, and take that Pixel to T-Mobile. You wouldn't have to ask Verizon to do anything - you could literally just pop in a T-Mobile SIM card and be on your way. You will still get OTA updates, and your phone will work with advanced network features like VoLTE and Wi-Fi calling. (VoLTE and Wi-Fi calling, it should be noted, are not supported by all carriers with the Pixel, but support does not vary based on where you bought it. A Google Store or Project Fi Pixel works just as well with Verizon VoLTE and Wi-Fi calling as a Pixel bought directly from Verizon. There is no difference.)
The Google Pixel should also work on most US prepaid providers like Cricket, Straight Talk, Ting, and MetroPCS, as well as many regionals like US Cellular. There may be some exceptions for certain small providers that require the device to be in their system in order to activate, but if you have a SIM card and pop it into the Pixel, it should work on damn near any network in America.
In short, as long as you bought your Pixel from one of the four legitimate retail channels in the US currently (Google Store, Verizon, Best Buy, Project Fi), it is SIM unlocked and works on all four major carriers - period. Those sales channels are linked below.