Sprint, AT&T Among Retailers Kicking Off Holiday Sales Early

With Black Friday a week late, Sprint and AT&T are offering deals early, including $100 off any phone with a new Sprint contract.

The holidays are coming and that means, among other things, there are deals to be had on smartphones.

Sprint is starting its holiday offers the Friday before Black Friday, offering a $100 instant discount off the price of any new phone with a new two-year agreement.

Those who switch their numbers to Sprint and choose Sprint One Up—the carrier's offer for upgrading a smartphone every year, which includes paying for the phone in monthly installments, with no interest and no money down—will receive a $100 Visa Prepaid Card.

Those offers are good Nov. 22 through Nov. 27.

Starting Thanksgiving (Nov. 28) and continuing through Monday, Dec. 3, Sprint will also offer the Samsung Galaxy S 4 Mini for free (after a $50 mail-in rebate) and the LG G2 for $49.99—a savings of $150.

If Sprint seems a little generous, it doesn't have much choice. Amid the construction dust of its Nextel teardown and its Long-Term Evolution (LTE) buildup, it's been losing customers—and it expects to keep losing them for a few more quarters, it said during its fiscal third-quarter earnings call.

However, it recently did start rolling out Sprint Spark, a technology currently in five cities and expanding; it offers data speeds a lot swifter than 4G. One of the more compelling examples is that an HD television show can be downloaded in 7 hours over 3G, 35 minutes over 4G and 2.5 minutes over Spark.

More Holiday Deals

AT&T is also feeling festive. Now through Dec. 7, it's offering three popular devices at half off. The Samsung Galaxy S 4 is now $99.99, the Samsung Galaxy Mega (the Mega line includes one handset with a 5.8-inch display and another with a 6.3-inch) for $74.99 and the 32GB HTC One for $74.99.

AT&T is now also offering consumers who trade in their current "qualified smartphone" at least $100 toward the purchase of "some" popular smartphones, including the 32GB HTC One and the 16GB Samsung Galaxy S 4.

Amazon has already announced that it will start offering "Black Friday deals" on Sunday, Nov. 24, and the deals will be announced in quick succession, with new ones being shared as quickly as every 10 minutes, Amazon said in a Nov. 21 statement.

If spending a Sunday afternoon staring at Amazon, waiting to see whether things you do or don't want become discounted, doesn't sound terribly fun, Amazon has shared early a few deals that can be expected.

The HTC One, with a new two-year contract with Sprint, Verizon or AT&T, can soon be had for just a penny, and select laptops from Asus, Dell and Lenovo will start at $239.99.

The National Retail Federation has declared itself "optimistic" about the 2013 holiday shopping season. The NRF expects holiday sales to rise 3.9 percent over last year's level. That's a smidge over the 3.3 percent 10-year average of holiday sales growth.

The fact that Thanksgiving, and so Black Friday, fall a week late this year likely accounts, at least in part, for the carriers and retailers offering their deals early. Those six lost shopping days, the Washington Post reported Nov. 5, have the potential to cost retailers up to $1.5 billion in lost sales.