As the holiday shopping season kicks into high gear, T-Mobile US (NYSE:TMUS), Verizon (NYSE: VZ) and other carriers are moving to cut prices and introduce promotions to goose their fourth quarter subscriber additions. Among the most interesting offerings is T-Mobile's offer to give $200 to every Sprint (NYSE: S) customer who switches to T-Mobile, a promotion that does not require a handset trade-in and stands in addition to the $650 that T-Mobile offers to cover the cost of early termination fees. Separately, Verizon announced its "give a gig" promotion that allows customers to gift 1 GB of data to their friends and family for $10, using the Verizon Messages app for Android or the Verizon website. "And to keep it simple, it's billed to your Verizon account," Verizon said.
Those latest promotions stack on top of already announced Black Friday promotions including Sprint's offer to provide service at half the price of Verizon, T-Mobile and AT&T (NYSE: T); T-Mobile's offer to provide unlimited data for three months to all customers; and Verizon's offer of 1 GB of free data for Thanksgiving.
Some of the more notable holiday promotions this year include:
Verizon: The nation's largest wireless operator is offering a $500 discount to customers who switch, trade-in their smartphone and buy the Samsung Galaxy S6. The carrier is also offering discounts on the Ellipsis 10 tablet, the FitBit Charge and other devices.
AT&T: AT&T is giving new customers the Samsung Galaxy View tablet for $99 with a two-year contract. The carrier is also offering the Samsung Gear S smartwatch for 99 cents with a two-year agreement. AT&T is also discounting a range of other devices and accessories, including LG Bluetooth headsets and Belkin chargers.
T-Mobile: The self-styled "uncarrier" is offering the Alcatel Pixi tablet and the Samsung Galaxy S6 with 32 GB for $0 down and $0 per month with any qualifying data plan. The carrier is also lowering the prices of Apple iPhones with storage at 64 GB and above.
Sprint: Among Sprint's many discounts, the carrier is offering the 32 GB Samsung Galaxy S6 for $9 per month and is also offering a free year of Amazon Prime with the purchase of several smartphones, including the S6. Interestingly, Sprint is also offering a free 24-inch LG HDTV with the activation of a new LG G4.
Thanksgiving and Black Friday sit in the middle of the critical fourth quarter holiday shopping season, a time when most of the nation's wireless carriers pull out all the stops to acquire new customers and trounce their rivals. Last year, for example, the U.S. wireless market recorded its best net-add year in the past seven years, partly due to the strength of carrier's efforts in the fourth quarter. Indeed, according to analyst Chetan Sharma, U.S. operators added 20 million new subscriptions during 2014, with T-Mobile leading the pack at 40 percent of that total.
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