I just came across an article by Glenn Hall on the TheStreet.com which details outrage at the fact that Verizon charges $350 for their early termination fee - essentially this fee just doubled. His point is that as devices get more and more powerful and device envy increases, we should encourage upgrades. And his point makes good sense.
The challenge for Verizon Wireless is the incredible amount of money they have spent on their network. Having just come back from a trip to Huntsville, Al I can tell you that once again, Verizon proves it has the fastest network and the network which is the most reliable in more places.
I know because I carry a Verizon MiFi device as well as have another Verizon radio embedded into my laptop and I also carry an iPhone. AT&T has a poor network. It is getting better but it is poor and 3G just doesn't exist in many places I travel to. Not so with EVDO from Verizon, it is almost everywhere I go and is almost always blazing fast. Many times it is faster than a local WiFi hotspot which charges $10-$12 per day!
At the end of the day, consumers who want the best network have to pay for it. You can't get something for nothing. The fact that we are able to go into a Verizon store and purchase a $650 phone for $199 and then expect to upgrade it for free a short while later is nuts. Verizon spends billions on its network and I for one want them to continue spending because the productivity of the nation and my company increases in lockstep.
By the way, this leads me to an interesting point you may be interested in, for wireless broadband use, TMC has standardized on Verizon but for devices, we have standardized on the iPhone. One of the things I hear most often when I travel to telecom and tech events is, "If the iPhone was offered on Verizon Wireless, I would get one." The reason of course is the network. Unless you happen to only go to the relatively few places where AT&T has a strong 3G network, you likely would benefit from this great network and again, you can't get something for nothing. One last point -- if you are a Verizon Wireless customer, you want them to continue improving the best network in the US.