Dean Bubley's post on 3G and WiFi got me thinking about lock in deals that the mobile operators and even many of the VoIP providers stick many of us with.
Buy your phone from AT&T or T-Mobile and your locked in to them, and that phone. Same with Verizon and Sprint. Just try changing your phone on Verizon without logging on to a web site or going into a store. My last swap took thirty minutes of waiting while the store clerk, um sales person, waited on hold to get someone who knew how to switch my Motorola Razr to a new Samsung Smartphone. Talk about a lousy customer experience. I really have better things to do than stand around the Solana Beach Verizon store while they argue over who should be allowed to do what.
With AT&T and T-Mobile, the carrier subsidized phones are very bling bling, but you can buy the same unlocked phone on eBay, and if you travel internationally, swap SIMS like I do without needing another phone in another country. So by locking people in to a phone and a plan, in effect the idea is to lock you and the competition out.
The analog telephone adapters from the VoIP companies are pretty much the same. They work on that carrier, but none other. I used to have a whole bunch of ATA's floating around the house from the likes of Vonage, Packet8, Broadvoice, VoicePulse, EarthLink and AT&T. All but Packet8's could likely work on another carrier, but unlocking them for the average person isn't possible, so we all accumulate more e-junk because of the lock in to others out approach that is so prevailing.
I don't think lock in to lock out will go away. And for the average person, it doesn't matter. I mean, your cable box is locked in too. But for the smart and savvy, the unlocked approach is what works best.