I was using Powertel when Voicestream bought them out. V/S has given me a fairly seamless transition. In fact, I now get more time for less money. My current plan is 800 anytime minutes and unlimited weekends (7pm Fri-7am Mon), roaming and 50-state long distance for $60.
I'd give them an 85 or 90 on coverage with regard to ASA cities. Bentonville is out of the question and Roanoke is spotty (nothing at the airport). Same score for drop off calls.
All in all, I'd recommend V/S, but those who use ATT say it's the best. They pay a premium for it also.
I've had Voicstream for the last few years and haven't had any real problems. No wait times when I called the customer service number and the coverage fit my needs. Paying $40.00 a month for 600 minutes during the week and unlimited during the weekend. These include long distance and no roaming charges. I believe that new customers would only get 500 mins during the week.
Had Verizon for the past three years (I use about 400-500 minutes/month). Service now is great, but it goes in fits and spurts; everytime they run a special deal and get a bunch of new customers, I start getting more and more dropped calls. usually improves within 6 months or so. I know its different all over the country, this is just the Utah market.
Also--watch the service plan CLOSELY regarding roaming charges. I took the phone with me to Chicago last spring and made 4 calls which ended up costing me almost $70.00!
My wife has had Voicestream for the past 5 years. Decent service, but in our state it does not work outside of the Salt lake valley (south of Nephi, west of Tooele, East of Park City). However, no roaming when she occaisionally goes to Denver. With them, Id check for service where you want to use them.
Also--I had AT&T prior to Verizon and it was the best service of all three, though by far the most expensive also.
Verizon has been good to me. I was using Cingular but they're awful, dropped calls all over the place and a lot of dead spots. I've gotten great coverage where I live (LA Basin) and all over the country, including PA, NY, CT, and NC...and not just the major cities. I'd say go Verizon if you can get it, and if you can stand the lengthy customer service recordings.
PS: Watch the roaming charges...they'll get you there.
Keep in mind that a provider that has excellent coverage in one region may have terrible coverage in another. I was an AT&T customer for many years until I moved to New England. The thing won't work in half the places I visit, including most of Connecticut and lots of places around Maine. Their customer service was absolutely terrific, but the coverage up here wasn't. I switched to Verizon up here and have been pretty happy. (In the southeast, it's pretty much the exact opposite story with respect to coverage.)
I'd base your decision on coverage first, and price plan second. A great deal doesn't do you any good if your phone won't work where you want it to. (Sprint's spotty coverage is a great example of that.)
I've been with verizon for about 3 years now and I'm pretty happy with their service. I have yet to find a spot in the country where I can't get service...just like the commercial with the guy in the swamp. It's a bit pricier than other plans but it's very reliable. I still get some dropped calls but can't remember the last time it happened. The plan I have is the National SingleRate 150 plan that goes for $35/month I think. The next step up is the National SingleRate 400 plan for $55/month. With these plans, you can get a free phone after rebate and you have 3350-3500 weekend minutes per month for life. The 150 and 400 are anytime minutes. I'd say stay away from Sprint. My wife has them and she's always asking to use my phone because she can't get coverage out in the boonies.