The Pixel 2 Isn’t Really Exclusive to Verizon: You Can Use It on AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint

Another year, another Pixel event…and another round of confusing “Only on Verizon” ad campaigns. But here’s the thing: the Pixel 2 can be used on any major carrier in the US. So what’s with this “exclusive” junk?

The Pixel 2 is not exclusive to Verizon. In fact, it’s one of the few phones out there that can actually be used on any carrier (including many MVNOs)—Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, Project Fi, Cricket Wireless,  MetroPCS, US Cellular…you get the idea. All you have to do is pop a SIM card in and you’re ready to go. Hell, T-Mobile will even give half of your money back if you bring a Pixel 2 and open a new line on its network.

But Verizon is the exclusive carrier for the Pixel in the US. All that really means is that Verizon is the only carrier that allows you to walk in the store and buy the Pixel directly from them. If you want to use it on another carrier, you’ll have to buy directly from the Google Store rather than buying it in the AT&T store or T-Mobile store.

So, why would Google do this? Because money, that’s why. Verizon pays a lot of money to have “exclusive” rights to a phone, and in exchange gets to use verbiage like “Only on Verizon” in the ad campaign, even if it’s really, really misleading (if not downright false). While I understand why Google would make the choice to allow this—Verizon is huge, after all—I also think the wording and ad directions are highly misleading as a result.

And really, that’s what Verizon wants. It wants you to think that you can only use the Pixel with its network, because that type of advertising sells service, which is what Verizon is after. Your money, every month. Over and over. For all of eternity.

But now you know, so you don’t have to fall into that trap. And you can help out all the other people you know who may not realize the truth behind the “Only on Verizon” crap. Godspeed.

Cameron Summerson is a die-hard Android fan, Chicago Bulls fanatic, metalhead, and cyclist. When he's not pounding keys here at HTG, you can find him spending time with his wife and kids, spinning legs on the bike, chugging away on the 6-string, or being disappointed in the Bulls.