no, customers do not "demand" locked phones.. they DO however, demand the gimmicky handset giveaways and other promotions, and *that* is what "demands" a locked phone to keep the phone on carrier for the duration of whatever contract requirement the carriers throw at it..
Verizon doesn't lock most of their phones and the ones that they do lock, they will unlock for you without too much of a hassle.
what you SHOULD be saying is that hardware and service should be separated.
Most carriers are allowing customers to have a 0% financing for their phones that are separate from the service. You can pay off the phone and move to another service or you can bring a compatible phone to their service.
hardware should cost what hardware costs.. a couple hundred usd, at minimum, for all but the cheapest devices.. unlocked and not carrier specific. a cdma should work on either cdma provider, a gsm should work on any gsm for voice and any carrier for data,
Most phones support LTE and work with GSM or CDMA. A GSM only LTE phone won't work with a CDMA carrier if it can't get an LTE signal. Then you have an issue with some phones don't support all of the LTE bands.
But CDMA sucks and only used by a few carriers worldwide.
services should cost what service costs... which is, a hell of a lot less than it does now due to it currently subsidizing hardware promos,
Phone carriers in the U.S. have moved away from subsidized plans toward service + (optional) finance plans. You can pay for the phone up front and just pay for service.
"smart phone" mandatory surcharges and data plans HAVE TO GO. ever hear of wifi-only data? no? it's entirely feasible, preferred even by many.. but carriers don't want you to have a smart phone that only does wifi data.
Plans do come with limited data but it's only $15/month. If you spend most of your time on wifi. There are plenty of free/low cost VOIP apps that include a phone number.
and the software ON the hardware needs to be supported and updated with security and bug fixes for the life of the hardware.. at least 7-10 years or more.. so you can jump off the upgrade train, keep a good device long-term, and do the environment a favor.
7 or 10 years support for phone? These were the top of the line phones in 2006: