Yes it is a bummer, but one that I knew about way before I bought the phone. I don't travel outside of the country anyway so really it doesn't effect me at all. If I, by some act of God, have to travel outside the US, I'll just get a prepaid GSM phone.
I'm curious to know how you guys all knew "way before" you bought it that this phone wouldn't work outside the US, or where you did your "research". Did you look on the internet? I mean, a month ago, some people still thought that the arrow keys on the keyboard were a finger print reader. I figured that the folks at the Verizon store who insisted that it works over seas would be a better source of info. Is there some definitive source of "correct" information that trumps the Verizon sales people? Anyway, here's another question for you: Can google voice and wifi solve this problem for me? I have wifi available most of the time over there, and I have a google voice number. I also have a few of these crappy prepaid phones that I normally use, but I really feel lame having to use them with a Droid in my pocket.
Well, the GSM / CDMA thing has been pretty common knowledge for, half a decade or more at least.
Google would be a pretty good source of information on a subject you don't know about. Sales people should be your absolute last line of information, because, in general, they will lie about anything and everything in order to make a sale, as you have just learned. To sling phone for a living and not know that a CDMA phone won't work overseas is laughable.
Google voice + WiFi = no go. Google Voice is not VoIP, it just calls out to a local number and redirects your call, unlike services like Skype, which route your call over the Internet.
How most people "knew" just had to read a review. Many places deried the decision for it to not be a world phone and were "surprised" by this. (For example, see cnets review of the Droid).
The Milestone will NOT run on Verizon (the Milestone uses WCDMA) which is different than the CDMA2000 used by Verizon Wireless. So, while you could use it on AT&T or T-Mobile thanks to GSM, Verizon Wireless is not an option for the Milestone.