Carriers bad, regulator good
It's the mandated competition between carriers that let Apple keep control of the customer relationship with iPhone, by doing a deal with an exclusive carrier. That carrier might win with Apple, but couldn't lose. Once the door was opened by Apple, all the android phone's slipped in behind, and the power of the carriers to tax services was gone. Hurrah for regulators and clever Apple.
Last year Three's "All you can eat data" became "All you can eat data, so long as it's not tethering", which caused a massive price hike for me. And I hate the way they use meaningless phrases like "all you can eat". In fact I hate all the carriers generally. You can open an account online, or in store, but you can't close it online or in store; you have to do it over the phone. "that's all done for you then", but then it turns out it hasn't been done at all, and you end up paying for another six months before finally getting the account closed.
But I love my original Virgin £0 a month contract, which is still running. Just pay for outgoing calls. Except there aren't any. T mobile signed a silly MVNO contract with Virgin to split call charges but pay Virgin marketing support monthly per subscriber, and it keeps on giving. Of course Virgin stuffed themselves full of little old ladies at £0 a month who never make a call. And me. http://www.theregister.co.uk/2004/01/30/tmobile_and_virgin_settle_longrunning/
There's another round of carrier-squeezing waiting to happen when we start buying service through Apple or Google, and are dynamically switched among available carriers based on instantaneous price and availability. Since the marginal cost of bandwidth is near zero, there could be some drama. Only a monopoly supplier would be able to charge enough to cover capital investment.