Here in ND, when Verizon and Alltel merged, the FTC did not allow the merger since they are the only 2 carriers and it would have become monopolistic. After some time, now Alltel is merging with AT&T here next Feb. We are all required to get new phones, and as long as you don't upgrade it will be at no cost. Any upgrade will require a new 2 year contract, which I don't want to do pending how I like AT&T. My two free choices are the Avia or a Blackberry curve (I have a Blackberry now). At 57, I am not a droid techy guy, but I am willing to learn. Will I enjoy the Avia? I did post this on Cnet, too and was directed here for more complete info. The Samsung Captivate was intriguing too, but I don't want to get locked in for 2 years.