With highly subsidized offerings like Verizon's BlackBerry BOGO deal and Apple's iPhone (combined with a high eBay demand), the opportunity to activate a new line, sell the equipment, and pay the early termination fee (ETF) is lucrative. There have been plenty of times where I've tried a device and instead of returning it to the store (and dealing with countless customer service people in an attempt to cancel the line without penalty), I've sold it and paid the termination fee. At times, I have actually made money doing it that way. I find it to be much easier than returning the device, calling in, canceling the line, having them adjust the bill, and making sure they refunded the ETF properly.
Verizon Wireless appears to be seeking a halt to this type of behavior, as current rumors are pointing to a new termination fee pricing scheme, beginning on November 15th. While normal devices will be priced at the normal $175, "high-end" devices will be slapped with an early termination fee of $350, decreasing by $5 monthly. It's safe to say that "high-end" encompasses the BlackBerry Storm2, Tour, HTC Touch Pro2, and Motorola Droid - though no specific definition was mentioned in the rumor.
With a $350 ETF, Verizon is beginning to push the full retail price point, and my thought is that people might skip signing the contract and opt for paying full retail instead. What say you?
Update: As of 11/4/09 at 11:00 AM, the ETF rumors have been confirmed - see here.