I think most of the major carriers are actually more nervous about Straight Talk (and similar) services now than they used to be. I know A LOT of people who have dropped their contract phone service to switch to these things.
I picked up a Samsung phone from Straight Talk a couple of weeks ago to use for some Ebay and online work I do when I don't want my "real" cell number given out. Now, the phone is basic - no touch screen, no "apps", and the web service is very basic and rather slow. However, the phone has a full keyboard (looks a little like a Blackberry), decent screen, and the reception and call quality are excellent. For $30 I can get 1000 minutes/1000 texts, or go $45 for unlimited. As I said, I'm using this as a secondary cell right now, but I'm getting frustrated with Verizon on a couple of levels and might actually just drop my Verizon service an use this as my only cell once my contract with Verizon soon runs out.
My biggest gripe with Verizon is that they don't offer light talk users a decent price package. I use texting a bit and a little web use, but I honestly don't talk more than 150 minutes a month. They have unpublished lower minutes rates, but they're only just barely cheaper than the $39.95 / 450 minute plan they have. They will only allow those 65 and older to get the $29.95 / 200 minute plan - they SHOULD make that plan available to ALL customers.
If I fall for the gadget addiction that many Americans have (and the carriers know we have) and get a Droid, my monthly bill with the minimum minutes, text, data, etc willeasily reach $85-$90.00. I can use the Wal-mart phone for $30.00 a month and pretty much get what I really NEED as opposed to getting toy features to play with. That's $55-$60 a month I can pocket/save/whatever. Since most of us don't make a cell company CEO's salary, that adds up!
I really do hope Verizon (SOON) offers more variety in options such as cheaper minutes plans, a cheaper tiered data plan, etc., so monthly bills can be lowered a bit but we can still use the smart phones. But if they don't change some things soon to become more competitive, I'll be dropping them altogether and just go the Wal-mart route like my neighbors and half my family already have.