A Verizon customer and blogger from Kansas began an online petition on change.org to persuade Verizon to do away with cell phone contracts.  He has so far gathered 60,000 signatures (in the first eleven days.)   

According to an article on cnn.com, he began the petition after hearing Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam say that he would consider nixing contracts if customers really wanted it.

So here’s how cell phone contracts currently work.  As many cell phones cost several hundred dollars, the carrier, Verizon in this case, “subsidizes” the cost of the phone by requiring two year contracts to help defray the cost of the phone.

Dropping contracts would look like this:  Let’s say you want the latest Apple iPhone and it costs $600.  You would pay that up front, then you would pay a much smaller amount per month.  If the current contract requires you to pay $100 a month say, that price could be reduced to about $50 or $60 a month.

The customer would also be free to change carriers at the time of their choosing.  This is the biggest selling point to paying up front.