There's a rumor going around that Verizon is on the cusp of announcing that customers bringing their own equipment to the table (they are doing that whole open network thing
, after all) or who are willing to pay full price for their goods up front will be able to go contract-free on postpaid accounts. There'll still be an activation fee and a credit check since we're still talking about a postpaid setup, but you'll have the freedom to walk away or upgrade hardware at any time your carefree heart desires without dealing with an ETF or a pesky contract extension. If this all goes down -- which it probably will, assuming Verizon's interested in keeping up with the industry trend here -- word is we can expect an announcement on the 21st of the month.
*Verizon has acquired AOL, Engadget's parent company. However, Engadget maintains full editorial control, and Verizon will have to pry it from our cold, dead hands.