Where does this legend about the "European model of unlocked phones" come from? Here in Germany, most people I know get the same 2 year contracts with a phone bundled, like you do. There sure are prepaid phones, contracts without phones, and all kinds of phones without contract on the eBay. But last time I checked, the contract+phone bundle made the most economic sense. Guess it is the same in the USA. Anyways, a contract with or without a phone costs €20-€60, I don't think it is kind of money you should get upset about, much less running news on Slashdot daily about consumers being "raped" by the carriers.