Only wireless provider I've ever had is US Cellular, didn't really ever have much for options where I previously lived, and reception was fine. But since I moved I'm re-considering my options (and trying to figure out just what those options are)...
I was previously well within that region, and my family and anybody else I'd call was also. But I recently moved closer to the fringe of the Wide Area. It's fine if I'm right around home, but if I go 20-30 minutes north, I'm roaming.
So right now for $40 a month I get 1000 anytime minutes (which I'm always a couple hundred under), free nights and weekends, and free incoming.
I don't text at all, don't have or want any of that fancy web browsing crap, just a phone and service to make and receive phone calls reliably.
Alltel seems to have the best coverage north of here, but they also have a wide area type thing, and it doesn't include some areas where I'd be making calls to regularly.
Verizon doesn't look like they have as good of coverage to the north as Alltel, but AFAIK they just have national plans, right? So that hits every other area I'd be calling to/from.
ATT has no coverage where my family is, so that would be kind of pointless, I think.
Will the Verizon/Alltel merger have any effect on coverage?
Are there any other providers I'm forgetting?
It would be nice if Verizon's coverage to the north got better with Alltel, but then I'd be looking at $60 a month for a package that is most similar in minutes/features to what I have now.
OK, I haven't exactly said much in all that rambling, but any suggestions? I really wish I could go to Verizon and try out a phone for a day and take it up north to see what kind of reception it got. It's just annoying that in the 10 years or so that I've had a cellphone, all with the same company, there have basically been NO improvements as far as reception and coverage are concerned (in my areas).
Another question - do any wireless providers offer some sort of virtual number service? Like something that would allow me to keep my current number, but add a virtual number in my new area code to it, so I'd have a local number people could call here and one my family could call, but it'd ring the same phone? Maybe no such thing exists? Just curious.