If you?re not switching carriers and don't qualify for a Carrier Upgrade, you can expect to pay near retail price to switch phones. Carriers offer the best deals to new customers, or handset upgrades for those who have had service for a substantial period of time.
Carriers make their money by providing you with monthly service plans, and little or no revenue from selling a phone by itself. Most consumers are accustomed to getting a phone for free when they signed up for new service with their carrier, but few realize that the cost of the phone is being subsidized by the carrier in exchange for you agreeing to keep service for one or two-years. See Chapter 13 of the Buyers Guide for more information on how carriers make money.