My daughter just asked me if you can buy an unlocked phone, so we decided to investigate. Apparently, you can. You just have to spend a whole lot of money for them! Well, I suppose they could be worth the price depending on your need, calling style and lifestyle. If you travel out of the country quite often, for instance, they could could be very useful, allowing you to have a local number for the duration of your stay.
It really doesn't make sense to me, the incredible waste cell phone companies subject us to; making us discard old cell phones just because we are changing carriers or calling plans. We have a cell phone collection bin at work where old phones are donated to be recycled, and it always has a few phones in it every time I've gone by to check it.
Wouldn't it be nice be able to choose one phone you like and keep it for as long as it's still working for you?