I like the subsidies
I just bought an iPhone 5 32 GB, which is $749 full retail. I got it for $299 with the Verizon subsidy. I could not afford to buy it at full retail on my income so the carrier subsidy is nice. I also bought an iPad mini on the device installment plan.
The bad thing is Massachusetts hits you with the sales tax based on the full retail and not the subsidy price. If I would have had a working vehicle, I would have driven to Connecticut to buy my new iPhone where they tax based on the activation price or even better, New Hampshire which is tax free.
New England is lame. lol.
I dunno, I mean it really depends on if you like your carrier or not to me. I've got Verizon, and frankly I love them so I don't mind paying the subsidy. However, if I didn't like them or would prefer someone else, I'd be buying phones outright.