I regularly receive questions regarding cellular providers and end up recommending the same things, that when you get right down to it, it doesn’t matter which carrier you select, they are all equally awful, in my experience. The big three in our area at least are AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon. What I do let people in on is what practical measures each carrier does differ on and which one you should take advantage of.
Verizon is the choice for you if you like to roam really off the beaten path. The network is very big, alas, the tradeoff is that it’s slower than many of the others. It’s really useful if you spend a lot of your time in your cabin deep in the woods, plotting the overthrow of the Government, for example.
Sprint is the choice for you if you only roam on the Eisenhower Interstate System in the United States. If you could plausibly walk to an I-## road, and that’s as far as you ever get, then Sprint has a network for you. If you end up in that cabin, you may be lucky, but chances are, you’ll be shit out of luck.
AT&T is the choice for all city mice. Big cities, don’t roam, don’t move. If you are like this, then AT&T is the best for you. They have a self-professed “Fastest 3G Experience”, but their coverage is horribly anemic.
Think of the carriers like a pyramid. The biggest is on the bottom, and the higher you go, the faster the service. That’s generally it.
One thing that is worth mentioning is AT&T recently purchased Centennial Wireless, there has been some chatter that AT&T will turn their 3G network loose on Centennial’s network, what this does to their anemic 3G coverage map has yet to be seen and the date is likewise a mystery – although conventional wisdom plunks it firmly sometime this year, although I would not be surprised if it slips as far as Q3 2011.