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Google Fi Withdraws From Target And Best Buy Stores

Google Fi Displays As They Once Stood At Best Buy
Google Fi Displays As They Once Stood At Best Buy
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Google Fi has withdrawn from both Best Buy and Target stores as confirmed in the latest prepaid report from Wave7 Research. The firm noted Google Fi displays at Best Buy have been torn down. Checks by Wave7 Research in various markets observed that SIM cards were also no longer found on the racks in either store. SIM cards are also no longer found online at Target and Best Buy. With the store exits, Google Fi no longer appears to have any brick-and-mortar national retail presence and once again reverts to being primarily a direct-to-consumer brand. However, Google does have four branded stores open in three states.

BestMVNO reported that Google Fi first launched in Best Buy stores in early 2019 with the offering of SIM cards. In October 2021, BestMVNO observed that Google Fi had launched new SIM cards in both Target and Best Buy that came with bill credits.

Google had been investing in setting up big Fi displays and end caps in Best Buy stores over the last couple of years. They've even offered Best Buy exclusive deals such as this one from October 2022, which offered customers free Google Fi for the remainder of the year with the purchase of a Google Pixel phone. The offer was even retroactively made available to customers who purchased a Pixel at Best Buy several months before the promo even launched.

The provider's exit from Best Buy and Target seems rather abrupt. However, the wireless departments of Targets local to BestMVNO over the last few years seem to have shrunk down with less floor space. The prominence of prepaid wireless and carrier displays at Best Buy overall may have also shrunk, prompting Google Fi to leave both stores.

“The halt of Google Fi sales at Best Buy and Target is a surprise bolt out of the blue. In the last two years, the visibility of Google was greatly enhanced, with Google Fi pitched on the screens on the mobile counter as if it were a national carrier, alongside screens for AT&T and Verizon. At Best Buy, Google Fi gained a place on the main prepaid display and Google Fi endcaps were seen. This is a sharp reversal.” – Jeff Moore, Principal of Wave7 Research

Google Fi Endcaps Removed From Best Buy (Pic via Wave7 Research)
Google Fi Endcaps Removed From Best Buy (Pic via Wave7 Research)

If Google were to reemerge into retail, one place to keep an eye on may be Walmart. Walmart seems to be a growing spot of prepaid and MVNO wireless brand launches with MobileX, Metro by T-Mobile, Ultra Mobile, and Consumer Cellular all having launched there over the last 2.5 years. Some providers, like AT&T Prepaid, have even launched Walmart-exclusive plans and deals during that time.

Google Fi's exit from brick-and-mortar stores isn't the only recent change from the provider. In March, BestMVNO reported on a price increase in Google Fi's Simply Unlimited plans. Google Fi's Unlimited Plus flagship plan now includes a free 6-month trial of YouTube Premium as opposed to the one-year free offer it had launched in late 2022. In May, the MVNO launched a two-month free trial of AI Premium with the purchase of their flagship plan.




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