Movie rental chains make their money from late fees. Movie theaters make their money from wildly overpriced junk food. And carriers make their money from over-complex pricing plans. All rely on irrational consumer decision-making as the core of their business model.
Worst of all, this model both provides enormous extra money for the carriers, and also control over what devices get sold and where. The carriers would end up in a position to dictate terms to everyone -- the handset makers, the mobile device content makers and especially the consumers.
is a good model for how mobile broadband devices should be sold. Amazon sells Kindles directly and takes care of the mobile broadband relationship itself, shielding customers from having to deal with the carrier, which happens to be Sprint. The carrier relationship is not a customer-facing business.
If the industry , gadget makers would create devices that worked across carriers, out of the box. They could later add, switch, drop or generally re-arrange the assortment of carriers provisioning wireless service.