Verizon's decision to stop subsidizing smartphone purchases in exchange for 2-year contract lock-ins is going to be a big change in the industry. It will be interesting to see what happens to handset prices. A while back someone I know had a Verizon iphone that they lost. They were talking about going out and buying a new one to replace it. I said, "uggh, an $800 hit." They looked at me like I was crazy. They said they had paid something like $300 for it. I pointed out that that was likely with a 2-year contract lock-in, and that a replacement would go full price which can run over $800 depending on which version they had.
They did not believe me. In fact they were almost indignant that I would suggest such a thing. And went running off the the Verizon store with every confidence an iPhone 6 plus could be purchased for $200-$300.
This situation has obtained for a decade. It will be interesting to see what happens to iPhone sales when customers are exposed to something closer to the true price. Since most iPhones without contract go for more (substantially more in fact) than the laptops I am buying my employees, I can't help but think that iPhone revenues will suffer. (Of course, the result could be everyone who wants a new iPhone switching to AT&T from Verizon -- it is not at all clear Verizon's new no-subsidy rates are low enough to be a better net deal than the old rates+subsidy).
I use Verizon because my business operates in the boondocks and Verizon is almost always the last carrier standing when I drive out to our locations. I wonder if Verizon will now be allowing unlocked phones? I presume this will be the case -- T-Mobile is the other company that ended phone subsidies and I moved my unlocked Nexus to them.
By the way, the current T-Mobile $50 a month plan allows unlimited data and text when roaming in 120 countries, and $0.20 a minute international calls from any of these countries. This is even better than you can do with the old method of buying an international sim card and switching when you land. No other US carrier is even in the ballpark. You have to pay Verizon $20 a month or so to get them to reduce international roaming text costs to 50 cents each with some paltry amount of data. For international travelers, there is no other choice even close to T-Mobile among US carriers.