Verizon has worked well for us... Thee has only been a couple of places it didn't work...in the middle of Montana and an unpopulated area in Northern CAlifornia... We live in the middle of the US and much of our state has unpopulated areas, but I have had service everywhere here, while friends of mine with a different service loses it 10 miles from our town...
I have Verizon. Had 'em for years in Chicago because they were my company's carrier. Then, when I moved up North, it was Alltel or nothing. Went with Alltell for 5 years and Verizon bought them out. Had problems with Verizon up North due to aging infrastructure which they slowly replaced.
I've had Verizon down here in Milwaukee-ish for over a year and have had no service problems at all. I have one smart phone, unlimited talk and text, and 2GB of internet, which is the minimum required for a smart phone. I only use data on the phone at home, connected via wi-fi, so don't even use the 2 GB.
My only objection to Verizon, as it has been all along, is the price.
We have Verizon but I'm not overly impressed. Of course, I wasn't overly impressed with US Cellular either. In our old house we could not get service from either carrier unless we stood by the window and it was a clear day.
US Cellular was the other carrier available in my town up North. Problem was that I had to drive into the downtown to get service!
And there was no coverage for a huge area outside of downtown; we're talking about 40 sq mi. Alltel was the only carrier that had all of the Northwoods covered at that time.
Verizon bought them out to get those towers. What really irritated me was that I'd been off contract with Alltel for a few years and Verizon required all of us to sign new contracts to be able to continue service with them. They also didn't have the cut-rate basic service that I had had with Alltel. So, my service went from 38 dollars a month up to 68 dollars a month.
We LOVE Net10. It works everywhere we have been with no overages, etc... It is $40 for unlimited talk text data and we have yet to find a place it won't work. I think my husband's smartphone was maybe $40 and it does everything we need. I don't have a smartphone because they are like watches and don't work if htey are near me for long. I cannot tell you how many I have killed. My kids don't have them because they don't want to pay a monthly fee for them - their call. Net10 has even cheaper phone plans if you don't make many calls.
Most phones today, regardless of carrier, use whatever networks are available. If you have an unlimited plan, they will use any carrier's tower if you are in a place without yours. The cell companies are forced by laws against monopolies to allow even less expensive carriers to use their towers. Surveys now show very little difference between carriers except for price.
At one time there were areas between the town I live in and the big town we travel to for specialist doctor appointments, etc... where we didn't have Net10 coverage but my parents had AT&T coverage. That has completely disappeared - we have better reception than even my mom's fancy galaxy whatever phone has in those areas. J and I usually take husband's phone when we go in case we have a breakdown or other emergency, and we cannot find those blackout areas anymore.
If you are concerned about coverage on a cheaper plan, I have heard Walmart's plan has an agreement to have coverage anywhere there is a Walmart, which is everywhere pretty much. I would guess there are still areas in very rural states and places like national forest areas where there are very few towers and no cell service.
My problem is I found U.s. cellular did not use the towers in the St. Louis Area. Nor did T Mobile, which I bought as a cheap phone so I could call Wisconsin and Chicago when U.S. cellular did not use nearby towers of other providers in St Louis. Still couldn't call except with son's At&t fueled phone. I bought the T Mobile phone at Wal-Mart which is close to son's house. I wish we had cheap options we can trust.
Now St. Louis is not a small town nor is it as far from Wisconsin as Arizona.
When we RV all over, ending up in Arizona, we need a carrier that will work long distance. When I used U.S. Cellular and T-Mobile down in St. Louis, they either did not connect or the other line rang, but I couldn't be heard. I was told that providers let their own customers have first crack at their own towers...perhaps that is true. Makes sense.
We actually wanted the cheapest provider that would do the trick...
Net10 is a cell phone provider that you can buy the phone at walmart or best buy and you can either sign up online for a monthly debit or buy a card at the store and enter the numbers into your phone to activate the airtime. Here is a link (you can order online also, and they have fast shipping) http://www.net10wireless.com/#/
I know a few truckers who do long hauls who swear by Net10. They use it from anywhere in the country but have no contract and no commitments. It is one reason we tried it. I cannot see going to one of the big carriers and having to pay their fees and rates when this is so simple and easy. My mother is ALWAYS fighting with AT&T about her bill because it is always wrong. Sprint was even worse when she it. They often triple billed her and would cut service off even AFTER she proved that the bill was seriously overcharging her. It was a constant fight. I won't ever go with a service that has a contract, but then again I don't like cell phones and really never have. I don't really like phones at all, though.
I have Verizon. We originally got it because it was the only one that offered service in the rural area where I used to live. We have stuck with it mainly because it is too much of a hassle to change. The coverage is good; the service is good. I think they are a little expensive but I'm not sure anybody else would be that much better.
We have traveled quite a bit and rarely have had a problem with coverage. Iowa has a few spots that dont have reception, and we lost it for a few minutes in Utah, but I can't think of any other places. We have had different carriers, and they weren't any better (especially in Iowa which seems to have a dearth of cell towers) so we went with Net 10 which is quite a bit cheaper and just as good. My hubby travels around Iowa quite a bit for work, especially in rural areas, and hasn't found any better reception with any other carriers.
It is WELL worth is and so much cheaper. Look at the website - you can even use your existing phone and just get a sim card for 99 cents. I know several people who switched from major carriers and were happily surprised that Net10 was as good or better than their big carrier was.