Last time we got cell phones was three years or so ago. Got a pair of Motorola Razrs via AT&T Cellular -- though I think it was still called Cingular at the time.
Contract was for two years.
The contract expired a year or so back but we just kept paying on a monthly basis. I was kinda holding out for an iPhone, but my wife got me an iPod Touch for Christmas, and pretty much, that does what an iPhone does -- except for the camera and the, um, phone parts. (Does WiFi.) And since my Razr has a cam and a phone, I carried two things on my belt, but couldn't see getting the iPhone for the extra cost.
Last week my wife lost her phone. She called and had it deactivated, and we started looking around for a new phone. This morning, in the paper, there was an article about a small cell service provider that is associated with AAA and AARP, centered in Tigard, Oregon. Consumer Cellular. (It seems to be aimed at retirees, since half of the members are apparently in that category. They even have an old lady phone with big keys and a help-I've-fallen-and-I-can't-get-up panic button.)
No contracts necessary. Bills are month-to-month, the rate for basic phone and web service is half as much as we are currently paying, and we can get two of their relatively-smart phones for just over a third what we paid for one of our old phones. Bluetooth, MP3 player, camera, speakerphone, web access, and an FM radio, made by Motorola, same folks what made the Razr. Compatible with hearing aids. And the amusing part is, the company subcontracts with AT&T Cellular, so the coverage area is exactly the same.
They aim their marketing at old people, and service is highly-rated, which is why AAA and AARP went with them and not one of the big companies.
Though you can get their phones at Sears, you can also sign up online, get a small discount on bells and whistles if you are an AARP or AAA member, and they'll transfer your numbers and ship you the phone within 3-5 working days.
What's not to like?