A whole lot. That is the answer to that question. I can't believe what Verizon just did today. They just decided to fucking rip off customers by providing crap on a Google developer device with Nexus branding. To top it, the feature that Google is trying to push with their Offers/Wallet would not be included in the device. It is disappointing to see Google complying with that demand. Also the device being exclusive to Verizon in US, makes it impossible for anyone to get the phone in any other networks. (You can get the GSM device unlocked from expansys.com and I am going to do just that)
Smart phones are like Razor blades or drugs. You buy a razor which is cheap, but the blades are the one that makes the company profitable. With iPhone and other smart phones, what the carriers have done is put every single customer on drugs and sucking them every month with the data bill with a 2 year commitment. It's also classic to see that the initial wave of smartphone data plan were unlimited, similar to someone who is offered the drugs on cheap and unlimited in the beginning. Once you hooked on, it's where they catch you with crazy data cap restrictions.
With US being one of the most expensive mobile network, where an average person pays roughly 4% of their average income on a cellphone bill ($26,364 is the average median income as of OCT 2011). That is pretty high. I can't believe, even after paying $299 for a premium handset and another 70-100$/month for the next 2 years, I can't get a phone with the features that comes pre-installed in it? How fucked up is the system where there are essentially 2 big carriers screwing up the customers?
There is one carrier, who wants to sell itself so badly, that they can do everything in it's power to be bought by another carrier
Then there is another carrier who is really trying to stay afloat and made it pretty clear, that if the other small network is sold to a big network, they could be folded too. They are positioning themselves to increase their value if they do decide to fold.
Then there are the two other giants - who are really there just to screw the customers. At least one network provides a better and reliable network and have taken a big lead when it comes to LTE. The 3G sucks for that carrier. Even with LTE which are on same frequency band of 700 MHZ for both the networks has ensured that their customers cannot swap their phones with each other networks! Isn't that screwing customers? The SMS charges are a whole separate debate on any networks.
It's so ironic, that today there was a survey done which listed Verizon with the best service provided for mobile networks. That might be true, but isn't everything screwed up when it really comes down to customers getting what they really want when they buy that phone/plan?