Despite Verizon being the exclusive carrier of the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, it isn't the only place to get a new Pixel 2 smartphone. Google is also selling the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL on its online store, which is unlocked and the two devices can be taken to any carrier – including T-Mobile, AT&T, and Sprint. Now this is going to keep Verizon from selling as many Pixel 2 smartphones as it could, since customers do have an option. But something else standing in its way is T-Mobile. As soon as the Pixel 2 was announced this week, T-Mobile announced its own promotion for users to come to the Un-carrier and/or open a new line and get half off of their Pixel 2 purchase, up to $325. Making it tougher for Verizon to not only sell the Pixel 2, but also keep the customers it may have gained from the exclusive.
Typically, having an exclusive means that the phone is not available on any other carrier, and it forces customers that really want that phone to flock to that carrier. This is why carriers work hard to get an exclusive, and pay a good amount of money for one. Exclusives were a pretty popular thing back in 2011, in fact the iPhone was exclusive to AT&T for the first 3 years of its existence before expanding to Verizon and eventually T-Mobile and Sprint. So this new business model is not "new" per se, but it is a bit dated. And with the Pixel 2 being available at the Google Store, it gives people less of an incentive to buy the Pixel 2 from Verizon.
Verizon was looking for the Pixel 2 to help differentiate its portfolio. Currently, most wireless carriers have two brands that make up the majority of its sales. That's Apple and Samsung. LG is pretty far back in third place, but Verizon is looking for a third brand to drum up sales, which it had hoped would be Google. But with the Pixel 2 being available elsewhere, and T-Mobile enticing users to come to its network over Verizon, the carrier is going to face some pretty big challenges. And it could be hard for Verizon to sell a ton of Pixel 2's, despite the pretty aggressive promotions it is offering for the new device.