What’s the right cell phone term length?

I noticed an offer from Treocentral today for a $99 Treo 600 which as you might expect comes with at least one string attached. In order to get the deal, you have to sign up for a new plan with Cingular for 2 years. If you are an existing Cingular customer, you are not welcome to this deal, period You also have to hope that the mail-in rebates get processed appropriately.

I signed up with T-Mobile in November of 2003 and am waiting on my 3rd phone in just over a year of business. I know I am far from the average customer, but what’s the ideal contract length if any? We are so completely accustomed to subsidized hardware in exchange for a contract term, but from what I understand it’s more of a US-centric view. How would you feel buying the Treo 600 today but knowing you are locked in without the ability to upgrade to the 650 at some later point without penalty?

In my case I purchased a phone with plan (SE T610), upgraded to the Treo 600 via Craigslist grey market and am waiting on an unlocked Treo 650 I ordered through a Palm event. I can certainly take the unlocked Treo 650 to any GSM carrier in the world and it will work. Actually my Treo 600 can do the same trick since I unlocked it as well. The thought of being bound is the old way. I can take my number with me when I go somewhere just as easily as my phone.

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