Ask LH: Will The Google Pixel Be A ‘Telstra Exclusive’ Forever?

Dear Lifehacker, How long does Telstra have the exclusivity rights for the Google Pixel for? I’m keen to get the phone on a 24-month contract but can’t afford to pay Telstra prices. Will it be coming to Vodafone, Virgin or Optus in the foreseeable future? Thanks, Manic Pixel Dream Girl

Dear MPDG,

When Google was prepping the Pixel for release, Telstra was the only Australian telco that signed on. At the time, Pixel was an untested new brand with an RRP that matched the most expensive smartphones on the market. Its only guaranteed audience were Nexus-loving techies willing to pay big bucks for a pure Android phone.

As it turned out, the Pixel was a hit with mainstream consumers and topped many critics’ lists as the best phone of 2016 – but by then Telstra was already the exclusive carrier. At this stage, it appears unlikely that the current-gen Pixel will ever be carried by other telcos in Australia. Sorry.

If your heart is set on Pixel and you refuse to join Telstra, you’ll just have to wait for the next version. (Rest assured, the Pixel’s success means that Vodafone and Optus will be keen to get hold of Pixel 2 later this year.)

Alternatively, if you don’t mind waiting a few months, the Pixel is bound to come down in price sooner or later. Our advice is to buy it outright once it hits under $500. You can then shop around for a mobile phone plan without being saddled to a contract.


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