Beware the free cell phone! I am tired of being held hostage by cell phone companies. Multi-year contracts, locked handsets and huge cancellation fees makes me very cautious about trying a new cell company but also leaves me choosing cell services like I sometimes choose who to vote for. I end up choosing the one that I think is least likely to steal from me than the others.
Imagine what would happen if a cell phone company came in with unlocked phones and no contracts. Just pay us for the service we provide. Oh, and bring your own handset if you want or we'll sell you one that is yours to keep, for a reasonable profit. Oh, and if you want to stop, no problem, just let us know. We hope to have the opportunity to serve you again some day. Thank you for your business.
Seth's riff (Hard to say goodbye) about companies that make it hard to leave is right on. Companies aren't taking into account the opportunity cost of holding their existing customers hostage.
Sadly, it may take a disruptive technology (SIP over WiFi anyone?) to break free of the stranglehold.