For some cell phone fanatics, the iPhone is love at first sight: cool touch screen; slim design; promising simplicity. The only thing standing between you and that dreamy device is your contract with another carrier. Is there a way to break the relationship without paying a penalty of $150 or more? Yes.
First, in a few situations you can dump or suspend a contract without enduring too much hassle: You can end a contract early without paying fees if the carrier makes changes that have a significant negative effect on your service or your subscription rate. For example, if your carrier raises its fees for text messaging, for example, you can use that as your get-out-of-jail card. Still, you'll have to plead your case to the carrier--it won't let you go that easily. You'll need to convince the company that the change applies to you and that it has seriously and negatively affected your service.
Carriers will also suspend your wireless service during active-duty military deployment. That doesn't free you from your obligation entirely, but it's better than paying for something you can't use at all. In the most extreme situation, a contract is terminated if the customer dies--though this circumstance does put a crimp in the deceased's future iPhone enjoyment.
Trade It In
Another way to lose your current contract is to transfer your account to someone else....