Hello. I am living in a country where cellphone network providers are regulated by the state. They must offer sim cards without phone contracts. I get 100% coverage in my country with all carriers and pay 69$ a month for unlimited text, speech and internet. The phone i bought (Galaxy Nexus) has cost me $380 and will last for 2 years.
Before we had this regulations I payed at least twice the price per year. I took about 2 years for the market to adjust and priced dropped significantly. Our telcos are still reporting huge profits every year so the must have made much more before.
Basically because most f the people here started buying the phones, the cellphone providers became just another data provider (utility). Subsidized phones have kept the prices artificially high in the past.