Google is shipping the wrong phone to some Pixel 4 buyers; sloppy fulfillment or a bug?

Google is shipping the wrong phone to some Pixel 4 buyers; sloppy fulfillment or a bug?
You know how it is when you're waiting for your brand new phone to arrive. Colors look brighter, food tastes better and repeats of "The King of Queens" start sounding like Shakespeare. And then there is that magic moment when the box arrives. You rip away the packaging and find...you've been shipped the wrong phone. This is the scenario that is playing out for several Google customers who bought an unlocked Pixel 4 straight from the Google Store. After inserting the correct SIM card into the appropriate slot, the screen says, "SIM card isn’t supported. Ask Xfinity Mobile if this device can be unlocked."

The problem is that instead of receiving an unlocked unit, these unlucky consumers are being sent a Pixel 4 SIM locked to Xfinity Mobile. Oops. One post from a gentleman named Bradley Stone on the Pixel Phone Help site suggests that this has turned into a comedy of errors. Mr. Stone writes, "Well, I had the same thing. Bought a new Pixel 4, unlocked. Put my AT&T sim in and it says it isn't supported and I should contact...Xfinity?!?! So I call support. They do a cross-ship for a new phone. Got the new one, and same thing. What a POS. Haven't they tested it? This is ridiculous." Another Google customer with the name of James McCartney (Paul's son?) had a similar and no less tragic tale to share. "I have this same issue, though my error message says I must contact Xfinity Mobile to have the phone unlocked. I have spent countless hours speaking with Verizon, Xfinity Mobile, and Google and have yet to solve it. Google has sent me two replacement phones in an attempt to fix the issue. I am currently on my third Pixel 4 hoping I won't have to send this one back."

Several consumers received multiple replacement units all with the same problem


Those who ordered an unlocked Pixel 4 or Pixel 4 XL and found themselves receiving a device SIM locked to a carrier have been told to speak to Google about the situation. And as you can see from the posts we referenced above, some received replacement units more than once and ended up no closer to a solution. If the problem lies with a bad batch of phones, it becomes a game where users keep returning carrier-locked units until they hit upon one that is unlocked, or a software update is pushed out to fix the issue. On the other hand, if this is just a bid of sloppy order fulfillment on the part of Google, perhaps testing Pixel 4 units before they are shipped out can solve the problem.


It is a shame that the Pixel series has a reputation for delivering buggy software out of the box every year with some hardware issues tossed in every now and then (like the Pixel 2 XL screen burn-in). This was supposed to be the year that Google took the Pixel to the next level to challenge Apple and Samsung. But it left out an option for Face Unlock that would allow a user to demand that his eyes be open in order for the facial recognition feature to work. In theory, this would allow someone with evil intentions to knock a Pixel 4 owner into unconsciousness and put the phone up to his face to unlock it. Leaving this out also allows a bad actor to unlock a Pixel 4 belonging to someone who is sleeping. A software update has been promised but has yet to arrive.

The smartphone market is so competitive that even though Google is usually able to correct these bugs and miscues with software updates, they can still leave enough of a bad taste in the consumer's mouth leaving him or her to vow "never again."

Related phones

Pixel 4
  • Display 5.7 inches 2280 x 1080 pixels
  • Camera 12.2 MP (Dual camera) 8 MP front
  • Hardware Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 6GB RAM
  • Storage 64GB, not expandable
  • Battery 2800 mAh
  • OS Android 11
Pixel 4 XL
  • Display 6.3 inches 3040 x 1440 pixels
  • Camera 12.2 MP (Dual camera) 8 MP front
  • Hardware Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 6GB RAM
  • Storage 64GB, not expandable
  • Battery 3700 mAh
  • OS Android 11

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