It may not be possible to buy your next Google Pixel smartphone through Verizon, as the carrier is believed to have put any plans to stock the Pixel 4a on “indefinite hold,” according to an anonymous source speaking to Android Police. If it does not sell the Pixel 4a, it may also decide to pass on the Pixel 5 at the end of the year. Currently, you can purchase the Google Pixel 3a, Pixel 3a XL, Pixel 4, and Pixel 4 XL at Verizon online and in retail stores.
Verizon has been a key partner for Google in its efforts to build a desirable smartphone brand, having been Google’s (initially controversial) exclusive carrier partner for Pixel phones until 2019 and the launch of the Pixel 3a. Data from the end of 2019 claimed the Pixel models made up just 5% of Verizon’s total sales, down from the 7.5% reported in 2016 following the launch of the first Pixel and Pixel XL.
Verizon is now just one of the carriers in the U.S. that sells the Pixel range, however. The Pixel 3a and Pixel 4 range can also be purchased directly through T-Mobile and Sprint, while the Pixel 4 can be purchased through AT&T. All Google’s phones are also available to buy unlocked directly through Google’s own online store, and with certain retailers including Best Buy.
The wider availability of the Pixel 3a series helped Google build up its share of the U.S. market, with Counterpoint Research stating at the end of September 2019 the cheaper models had given it a 139% boost over the previous year. It still couldn’t crack the top 5 manufacturers in the U.S. though, and Google itself said Pixel 3 phones didn’t sell as well as the Pixel 2. In the Counterpoint research paper, it called the response to the Pixel 4’s launch, “lackluster.” The lack of interest in the Pixel 4, the loss of exclusivity, and Verizon’s apparently low Pixel sales overall would certainly justify any decision to stop stocking future models.
The rumor’s source did not want to be named due to not being authorized to speak about the carrier’s future plans, and the assertion should therefore be treated as speculation at the moment. Additionally, due to not having exclusivity any more, rumors of canceling the line entirely could be a strategic play on Verizon’s part. Google is expected to launch the Pixel 4a range during the keynote presentation at its Google I/O developer conference, which takes place on May 12.