In the United States, and perhaps elsewhere, when you sign up for cell phone service you can get free cell phones or can purchase a higher end model such as a smartphone. However, there is no such thing as free lunch and the price you pay is less than what you would pay if you bought it outright. That’s because the phones are subsidized when you commit to a 1 or 2 year term with that cellular carrier. (And smartphones usually mean a data plan as well as part of the commitment)
But even the subsidized smartphone can still run multi-hundreds although that may change soon. Acer has announced, at least in the U.S., that they will be offering ‘Free’ smartphones with the contract.
The Boy Genius Report has the information HERE.