It's gonna get interesting . . .
On November 24 cellular carriers will have to allow customers to keep their existing phone number when transferring to a different cellular carrier. In the past, customers have had to stay with one particular carrier to ensure that they got to keep their number that "everybody knows," regardless of that company not having the most competitive rate plans, coolest phones, etc. You can find the full FCC text here if you care.
What you will see happening as the date grows closer and certainly after November 24 is cellular companies becoming a lot more comeptitive and, most likely, cellular companies copying each other's tehcnology offerings; and in the process slamming each other in commercials. Perfect example: Verizon's new push-to-talk technology that is supposed to compete with Nextel, which Nextel has dubbed "push-to-wait."
Furthermore, companies are going to try and rope consumers into longer and longer contracts with hefty early termination fees. More than likely service providers will offer what was very expensive hardware at substantially reduced prices provided you sign a 2-year service agreement with a $300.00 early termination fee. Of course, this is already happening, check out Sprint's offer for the Handspring Treo here.