Posted 04 March 2005 - 01:37 AM
Your question is not easy to answer. It all depends on your situation. ie. where you live, where you're going, time of day you're doing the most talking.
Verizon is big on charging roaming fees, out of area fees, and out of service area disconnects. (Remember that roaming can bite you both ways. Sending + receiving; especially if you're on spring break in somewhere USA.))Verizon also has a problem with dropped calls. Its what happens when you switch towers, also known in some cases as switching carriers, as you're traveling. With Verizon, the Devil is in the details. Read the fine print carefully for the plan you would choose for the area in which you would do the most of your talking. They will charge you for any fee they can get away with!
Cingular has some good nationwide plans. If you're not switching your phone when you switch carriers, customer service shouldn't pose a problem. The law may say that portable #'s are doable, that doesn't mean that your present carrier has to be obliging about losing you as a customer. (1st hand experience.)
I currently use Sprint. Their customer service is the worst, but their coverage for the areas I travel through is the best. (I travel at least 2K miles a week.)
If you travel out of your town often do not use Nextel. They're coverage is terrible.
TDMA, CDMA, GSM. These acronyms should help you to decide which carrier to use. You cannot use a phone that is TDMA, on a CDMA system, or Vise-Versa. Ditto for GSM. GSM is the wave of the future here in the USA. GSM is all you can get in Europe, and that is what ATT was switching to before Cingular's buyout of ATT.
Motorola phones have the best reputation for all calling plans. Samsung falls in close behind. The difference will be in TDMA, CDMA, GSM.
Go for a plan that has a "try it" period. Make sure if you travel often that you travel during the test period.
I hope this helps. This was a very frustrating issue for me also. Remember. If they say its free, you're going to pay the tax on the free service. There is no free ride as far as the US Government is concerned!