Market research company, Wave7 Research, has issued a report investigating how America's carriers behaved during the start of the holiday season and in the run up to Black Friday. The conclusion is that T-Mobile "derailed" the competition with its offers, forcing them to release their own offers and deals. Furthermore, now that Black Friday has come and gone, the market remains very competitive and this has continued into December, during the run up to the end of the year. America's third largest carrier, T-Mobile, is still offering a $200 switcher offer, originally set up for Black Friday. This offer, which runs up to $800 for four lines switched to T-Mobile, is T-Mobile's dominant offer. Wave7 notes that four T-Mobile One lines costs from $160 a month, and another $20 ($180 per month) without autopay. With Wave7 also adding that after Black Friday, T-Mobile removed its tablet offers but it's possible that these will return during the final days before Christmas, perhaps with offers of free lines to maintain the pressure on the competition.
The competition has certainly not stood idly by to let T-Mobile take all of the limelight. Verizon offered a similar Galaxy S7 promotion as T-Mobile and broadened this to include discounts on several high-end or flagship devices, including the still sought-after iPhone 6 Plus and Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge. AT&T has a number of promotions running and was until the end of last month running a $200 trade-in deal for customers buying the new LG V20. Sprint, has an existing offer of five (compressed) unlimited lines for $100 a month. So it would seem that while T-Mobile may have stolen the march on the industry, customers are being particularly hard fought over.
However, there is one area where the holiday season smartphone market is not as buoyant as the retailers would hope according to Wave7: the large screen device arena, occupied by handsets such as the Apple iPhone 7 Plus and the Samsung Galaxy Note 7. Although customer demand is still there, the supply of these devices is in short supply. The situation is not helped by Samsung's withdrawal of the Galaxy Note 7 from sale in the autumn and its reliance now on the older Galaxy S7 Edge. Two alternative devices to these, the Google Pixel XL and LG V20, are also said to be in short supply.