Verizon is NOT a handset manufacturer, yet it sells handsets. The ones Verizon sells are the ONLY ones that work with its network. This model is 100% geared towards total control at the expense of consumer satisfaction. On the other hand, GSM carriers allow ANY compatible handsets to be used with their network. If they can do it, why not Verizon? By Verizon getting into the handset selling business, this is what we get:
1. Extremely limited handset selection: Verizon decides what models we get to choose from. At a time, it's a handful of 25-30 devices. GSM subscribers have hundreds and hundreds of device choices.
2. Limiting features: Verizon can and does limit various features of the handsets it sells. Verizon has a history of being a total control freak to force customers to pay to use its own services instead of device capabilities. Back in the day, Verizon forced its customers to use its picture mail service to share pictures by locking down Bluetooth capabilities.
3. Bloatware: Where do I begin with this. All the handsets they sell come with performance eating buggy bloatware that you can't remove.
4. Devices are one cycle behind: There is no argument that all the newest and the greatest features are made available to the unlocked GSM handsets and we have to wait sometimes a full cycle to get the same features simply because manufacturers have to get the signal from Verizon.
5. OS updates: Screen the forum and how many hundreds of threads with the title "Where is my update? do you see"? Verizon holds up the updates for each and every single handset it sells. Non-carrier branded phones get the updates directly from the manufacturers without much delay.
6. Service and support: Verizon's handset support is one of the worst in the industry. Why? One reason: the people you go to for support are pressure-driven towards sales and every minute they spend on you not selling is a minute wasted by not selling. In countries where manufacturers directly sell phones to consumer have a full infrastructure for after sales support. Every major manufacturers have walk-in support store where you can have your phones repaired under warranty or by paying for repair services (just like apple stores in the US).
Now one can try to make a point on the cost of unlocked handset costs. First of all, no contract price of phones that Verizon sells are WAY higher than unlocked GSM phones of same level. Not only the off-contract prices of Verizon handsets are insanely inflated, but also their contract price is quite high. For example, the Droid Razr's retail price is near $600, on contract it's $200-$300. Yet, the latest and the greatest UNLOCKED LG Nexus G is selling for $300 retail in the Play Store. So, Verizon is sticking it to us again by inflating the "retail" price and then giving us phony discounts to make it look like we are getting a deal.
The Bring Your Own Device revolution has already started in this country. There are SO MANY advantages to this model for consumers. Once everyone buys device off contract and directly from manufacturers, manufacturers DIRECTLY compete for your business, quality goes up, prices come down. Not to mention, no carrier bloatware, timely updates and more cutting edge features.
If other carriers worldwide can do it, why not Verizon? Verizon is not even CLOSE TO BEING the largest carrier in the world - it's currently ranked 18th in the world, with the #1 carrier having 6 times more subscribers than Verizon. If they can do it, why not Verizon?