As the critical fourth quarter holiday shopping season cools, carriers including AT&T, T-Mobile US and Verizon are pushing new buy-one, get-one offers in order to juice their first quarter results. The BOGO offers generally provide a free or cheap phone to users who agree to purchase a new smartphone at full price.
"The BOGO, a mainstay of carrier promotions when devices were generally subsidized, is now making a comeback, with BOGO or 'semi-BOGO' offers now available from AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon," noted Wave7 Research. "Carriers are likely focusing on these offers as a means of adding lines to existing accounts. However, the new offers are likely to have a negative impact on device margins."
First up is AT&T, which is offering customers a free Samsung Galaxy S6 when they purchase one at full price. Both phones must be bought through Next, AT&T's equipment installment plan, and require service plans of at least $70 a month. The value of the second handset is redeemed via a credit of $595 spread over 30 monthly bill credits starting within three bill cycles of purchase.
AT&T's latest promotion follows its January launch of campaign targeting business users with a two-for-one offer for phones including the Galaxy S6, iPhone and some other models. The new offer applies only to the lone Samsung model, however.
Like the business offer, the latest deal is likely a move to help AT&T and its retail partners clear out existing inventories as it boosts sales and adds subscribers. Samsung is widely expected to introduce the Galaxy S7 later this month at Mobile World Congress trade show in Barcelona, Spain. The new offer expires March 31.
Separately, T-Mobile last week announced its "Half-Off Smartphone Event." The carrier said new and existing T-Mobile Simple Choice customers can get half off smartphones when they buy another device from the same manufacturer of equal or greater value. Phones covered by the offer include Samsung's Galaxy S6, S6 edge, S6 edge+ and Note5; LG's G4 and V10; and others.
And Verizon is doing the same with the Droid Turbo 2 and Maxx 2. As Wave7 noted, Verizon's "semi-BOGO" offer gives customers getting 50 percent off a second Droid after agreeing to fully pay for the first one. The firm also said Verizon is offering a $100 discount on the iPhone 6 Plus in gold, among other offers.
As for Sprint, Wave7 said the carrier is currently sitting out the BOGO craze, but is instead offering a "4 Day Dash" that offers a $200 discount (with trade-in of working smartphone) on the HTC One A9.
AT&T targets business users with 2-for-1 smartphone offer that includes Galaxy S6, iPhones
T-Mobile launches half-off smartphone promotion, adds data to refreshed prepaid plans
Sprint could nab up to 50,000 customers from T-Mobile in Q4 with half-off promotion