Well, I can tell that we have it good here in Denmark then.
We don't pay tethering fees and we don't pay to receive phone calls or text messages. That's simply not something we pay for. Instead it's the caller or sender that pays.
When we buy a new phone, it may be subsidised and it may not. But when it is, it's anywhere from 1/5 to more than half. When we buy a phone on installment plans there is no interest.
A carrier can only bind you to them for 6 months if you buy a phone from them. Even if it's bought on 24 months installment. Then you just pay for the phone to them and for your calls to your new carrier. If you don't buy a phone from the carrier they can only bind you for one month. And carriers charge nothing to move you from one company to another and they do all the work.
For a long time we had "pay-pr-minute" and "pay-pr-text" type of deals in Denmark but with the emerge of web based apps on smartphones this has changed. Almost everybody is now on flat rate and 3 hours of talk + unlimited texts and mms' + 3 GB of data can be had for around 12$ pr. month. More costs more, but for less than 50$ pr. month you can have unlimited talk, unlimited texts/mms' and 500-1000 GB of data pr. month. Via your smartphone.
Oh, and the EU has restricted the prizing of roaming fees inside the EU, even for data, so that it's much, much, much cheaper now. Bills in the excess of say 1500$ will almost always be due to a grave error from the phone company and you will almost never be liable to pay this.
It's good to be a phone customer in Denmark...