I have been trying to switch to a full-time Smart phone, but I need to do it without the monthly charges breaking the bank. It turns out, none of the top 4 carriers gets a perfect score with any Smart phone, mostly due to coverage dead spots. Verizon doesn't work at the rec center. AT&T drops out when researching at the library. Sprint and T-Mobile signals both disappear behind the hill in our own neighborhood. What's a guy to do?
In my case, Verizon wins at coverage but loses with too high of a price. I can't justify doubling my cost just to add data. T-Mobile and Sprint do very well with Data speeds but have dead spots for voice calls in critical locations (I was really pulling for T-Mobile!). AT&T sits right the middle with Goldilocks coverage and data (not too good...not too bad). The most important thing I learned is that data is a side interest and that voice calls are still most important.
The next step is deciding whether to work directly with AT&T or an AT&T re-seller. The price difference is Straight Talk at $45 per month vs. AT&T GoPhone at $65 a month. AT&T's data limit is 1Gb a month, Straight Talk's is more than double that, and there are almost 10 other alternatives that all use the AT&T network. Price is not necessarily the most important point, but guess which one I'm trying first?