reply to fiberguy
Re: Wow, this deal stinks! I think that a small amount of regulation could help the problem. It would go like this:
First, all carriers operating in the United States would have to use the same wireless technology. We're getting there with LTE, so we could standardize on that. Second, all phones sold must support all bands and be operable on all carriers. That way, you could take a phone from one carrier to another and use it on any of them. Third, any phone purchased must come unlocked and usable on any carrier, with all carrier-dependent software being capable of being uninstalled. This includes phones purchased on subsidy, since wireless contracts are tied to a person and not a phone. Yes, the customer gets a discounted phone, but they're still bound under that contract, regardless of which phone they use, and the ETF still applies, so there is no reason to lock a phone.
The carriers will hate this, but it would help customers tremendously.