The fourth quarter of the year is historically one of the busiest periods for the wireless industry, and 2016 is proving to be one for the ages. In fact, this holiday season has been off to a more dramatic start than usual. Wireless customer switching volume over Black Friday weekend hit the highest level we’ve seen in the past five years, and was up more than 20% from last year.black-friday-weekend-2012-2016

One of the primary reasons for the high switching volume was the attractive Black Friday weekend promotions that were more aggressive in 2016 than they were in 2015. Free flagship smartphones were a big draw, with Verizon giving away free iPhone 7s, Samsung Galaxy S7s, and Google Pixels with trade-in, and T-Mobile giving away free iPhone 7s, Samsung Galaxy S7s, and LG V20s with trade-in. In addition, both Verizon and T-Mobile offered switching credits of $200 per line to further sweeten the deal. AT&T continued to offer free iPhone 7s and Samsung Galaxy S7s to customers who also had DirecTV or U-verse. Sprint, meanwhile, offered 3rd, 4th and 5th lines for free on their Unlimited Freedom plan. Offers like these proved too good to pass up.

Those great Black Friday deals also created quite a stir on social media. Similar to switching volumes, Comlinkdata saw sharply higher volumes of tweets about Black Friday deals in 2016 than in prior years. Those discussions started to ramp up the week before Thanksgiving, then peaked on Black Friday as customers hit retail and online stores, and they continued through the weekend.

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If you’re interested in working in an industry that gets people talking and creates this kind of action, consider working with us. And if you’d like deeper insights into what’s driving the wireless industry, please contact us. We’d love to talk with you.