Actually, Verizon hasn't really locked down GPS of late. What they have done, however, is made it hard for you to use the GPS without having to buy their App. The VZ Navigator is a GPS program that was available to all phones, but you had to pay to use it.
Not many phones have 'apps' that were free that would make use of the Navigator, and on the Blackberry, at least the Storm for sure, I knew I could use apps like Superpages and Google Map to find where I was GPS wise. With my LG Chocolate, however, there was no 'apps' for the phone and so to use something like a map based system, I either had to have the Data plan or use the VZ Navigator.
One thing mentioned in the reviews also, is that Verizon does not even bother putting the VZ Navigator on the Droid, since Maps is a part of the Droid system and it, and other apps make use of the GPS radio.