When I first got a cell-phone, some 10 years ago, I deliberately chose the hip new alternative on the block, FIDO, because their costs were competitive, and they didn't have a "N-year contract" system. You paid your bill until you were done with the service, and then you stopped – sounded fair to me.
However, the Canadian industry has consolidated down to 2 major carriers and a handful of small regional ones, and FIDO was bought up by the Rogers behemoth. They still operate as an independent brand, but clearly things are changing. For one thing, they have added multi-year contracts, and are now pulling maneuvers to try and get people to leave behind their month-to-month plans.
My wife got a call from a marketer – would you like a better plan? we'll give you two months free and blah blah blah blah blah. She was holding a screaming baby at the time, and said "yeah, sure". Never say yes to a salesman in haste. Turns out the new plan was a 3-year contract.
Today, I found out that the phone I have was quietly switched to a 3-year plan when they sent me a new handset last year. Surprise! FIDO had sent new handsets in the past, so I didn't notice, but apparently the cost of my new phone was that I am now in cell-phone shackles until January of 2010.
You're not a customer to the phone company, you're an ambulatory money beast. Mmoooooooo.