Verizon has decided to start locking phones down again at the beginning of the year. In order to gain access to the 700MHz Upper Block C spectrum, Verizon reached an agreement with the FCC. The carrier would get access to the band from the FCC but it has to stop its SIM locking policy. Verizon phones, between 2008 and beginning of 2018 were SIM unlocked. The carrier decided to start locking phones again in February, and the Pixel 3 phones are the first ones to reach its portfolio since the policy change.
This makes the Pixel 3 the first phone in a decade from Verizon that is sold SIM locked. Early adopters find out the hard way, as you can see in the Reddit post below. A “SIM card isn’t supported” message will pop up if you buy the Pixel 3 from Verizon and try to use it on a different carrier. And, Verizon is pretty much your only option as it’s the exclusive carrier for the Google phone.
It is not clear had the unlocking procedure is going down. Some reports claim that the phones become eligible for unlocking after they’re used for 24 hours with an active Verizon SIM or service. Others claim it can be done after a couple of hours. If you want to save yourselves the hassle, make sure to buy one from the Google Store or with Project Fi.