T-Mobile targets families with offer of two free lines this weekend

T-Mobile store

T-Mobile is once again hoping to jump-start the holiday shopping season with a three-day promotion of two free lines for families in advance of next week’s Black Friday.

The nation’s third-largest carrier will target families of four with a deal of up to two additional lines free to both new and existing customers from this Friday through Sunday. A family starting service with at least two lines on T-Mobile One or Simple Choice plans can get an additional two lines free, for instance; existing customers with at least two lines can add two more free.

The lines can be either smartphones or tablets, and the offer is redeemed via bill credits for service for two or more paid voice lines.

Additionally, the carrier outlined several promotional campaigns lined up for the post-Thanksgiving shopping frenzy. For three days starting Nov. 24, users who trade in a Galaxy S6, Galaxy Note 5 or other qualifying device can upgrade to a Samsung Galaxy S7 free after 24 monthly bill credits. And T-Mobile is also offering a free Samsung Gear VR and a $50 Oculus app store gift card to customers who buy a Galaxy S7, including those who redeem the trade-in offer.

The carrier is also offering a free Samsung Tab E or LG Gpad X after 24 monthly billing credits to customers who purchase a tablet plan, as well as significant discounts on a handful of accessories.

T-Mobile continues its relatively aggressive moves during what thus far has been a placid pre-holiday season among carriers. Last weekend the operator offered a two-for-one deal on Samsung’s Galaxy S7 to users who added a line of service on its equipment installment plan, in a deal that could be combined with T-Mobile’s ongoing campaign to pay as much as $650 per line or more via trade-in credits to users who switch.

The promotion comes amid notably dampened enthusiasm in the early days of a typically raucous holiday shopping season. Samsung’s disastrous endeavor with the Galaxy Note 7 has created something of a void in the market of high-end smartphones, as Wave7 Research reported earlier this week, and limited stocks of both Apple’s iPhone 7 Plus and Google’s Pixel XL are also shackling the market.

“One month into 4Q 2016, postpaid competition is mostly marked by the quiet between the storms of September (the iPhone 7 launch and the Note 7 recalls) and the sales of Black Friday,” Wave7 wrote last month in a note to subscribers. “Heavy marketing of the Pixel and major offers on it from Verizon and T-Mobile – and a minor one from AT&T – are the exceptions to this rule.”

T-Mobile’s campaign is likely to signal increased competition in the coming weeks, however. AT&T is preparing to launch its over-the-top DirecTV Now offering and is sure to back the OTT service with a big-budget marketing push, and both T-Mobile and Sprint are likely to ramp up their advertising efforts to steal customers from the nation’s two largest mobile network operators.

*This article was edited Nov. 16 to note that T-Mobile is the third-largest U.S. operator and to clarify terms of the offer.