Some of the features that are "stripped" (not all) are to pass the FCC's stringent guidelines for phones that are sold in the US. There is nothing preventing you from using an unbranded GSM handset with T-mobile or At&t (2 largest GSM carriers in the US) but be certain that they have the correct operating frequencies (850/1900 mhz) or you will be greatly disappointed. The main reason that US carriers "strip" certain features is to make the phones more affordable (ie. less costly for them to buy). Don't read into it more than necessary.
Hello, I'm new here, and would appreciate any information which can be provided on the use of phones in the US which are NOT the ATT, Verizon, or T-Mobile stripped-down versions. After two years of gnashing my teeth at what AT&T did to what was originally a beautiful Ericcson, which they also rigged to cause easy pocket-dialing to their really awful billable-by-the-minute online network, I am now finding that it only gets worse now that I am considering a smart phone upgrade. Some of them which had extra cameras for teleconferencing, wi-fi capability, and even FM transmitters have such features removed by the American service providers who sell them. Also, almost all of them have less memory as well - the more I dig, the more of a horror it is to learn just how far they go to control the access I have to what are otherwise fine products when it's them!
As a result of the above, I have concluded that I may need to purchase my next phone independently of any, or most carriers in the US, if I don't want to be let down by a product which is not consistent with the glowing reviews which were written by people who received their products directly from the manufacturer. Am I wrong on this (I have so far researched mostly the free-with-contract, or very-low-charge-with-contract Samsung, HTC, and LG offerings through AT&T, but a few Google-clicks indicates that other companies practice similar product-dismembering). Are there any in the US which don't operate by this despicable practice, or are there some which will leave it mostly intact if I spend $100 or two (instead of $500 through the manufacturer)?
If no to the above, and I go with buying an original-manufacturer phone, are the USA companies permitted to, or known to deny anyone connection service due to it not being through one of their phones? If not, can I sign up for a plan similar to the contract calling plans, or will I be stuck with only the pay-as-you-go options? Please help if you can - thanks!