Okay so someone I know recently got into the iPhone frenzy. He was bloody ready to go throw away $600 on the iPhone 3gs 16GB. Holy ****! $600 for one phone? Well I slapped him around a little bit and gave him some advice. I figured I may as well share this piece of advice for those dotTechies who are also iPhone seekers (USA only).
Before I go into my advice/tip, let me explain to non-USA dotTechies how buying cell phones works in the USA. You see, unlike Europe and Asia where most people just purchase an unlocked cell phone and then pick their cell phone provider of choice (not being restricted to just one company by signing a contract), here in the USA cell phones are significantly cheaper because cell phone companies subsidize them. Let me explain by example. You want cell phone Y. Buying an unlocked version of cell phone Y, from eBay or from the manufacturer, will cost you $400. However if you purchase the same cell phone Y from T-mobile (a cell phone service provider here in the USA), you can get it for $200. The catch is you must sign a 2 year contract with T-mobile saying that you will use T-mobile service for 2 years. If you ever break that contract, i.e. cancel T-mobile service, before your 2 years is up you will pay a "early termination fee" of $200. Now of course the numbers I used in my example will vary from situation to situation but I think you get the point.
Tip: Get an unlocked iPhone 3gs without paying an arm and a leg | Headline | dotTech [.org]