Having noticed many complaints on cellular 'phone service, I thought I'd share my opinion and limited experience. I'm certainly no expert on cellular service, but in trying to educate myself (read 'not get screwed too badly) I've gleaned the following information. I may have some inaccurate details, as getting the straight scoop out of the different cellular providers is like pulling teeth. I truly think they prefer customers who don't have a clue.
Cellular service in general is marketed and billing is done in a manner I consider to be intentionally confusing. Absolutely NONE of the digital-only format cell 'phones will work unless you're within sight of an interstate highway or major city. There is NO national (COMPLETE coverage) digital network. There is, however, nearly complete national analog(AMPS) coverage. To my knowledge Sprint, Nextel, ATT Wireless and Voice Stream are digital only services. If a person must have a 'phone that will be continually serviceable during a trip covering ANY area, one must choose a carrier that has digital AND analog (AMPS) service. The down side to this is the fact that most dual and tri-mode 'phones don't work as efficiently on an analog circuit as a straight analog phone. Analog ONLY 'phones are no longer being put in service. They will, however work where a digital only 'phone wont! Analog service has only one format, digital has at least three which aren't necessairly compatable. So, it's analog again which will link up with ANY analog (AMPS) carrier, A or B.
I'm with Centennial (maybe "Cellular One in some areas)who is an "A" analog carrier and TDMA digital. The only other choice for complete national coverage is Verizon who is a "B" analog, CDMA and GSM digital.(tri-mode)
Nextel is "iDEN" digital, Voice Stream is "GSM" digital. A 'phone purchased from either one won't work on the other's system.
A digital-only 'phone is fine if the user stays within the limited coverage area of their provider. Travel?....Forget it!
There are also issues of battery life between analog and digital, which really have no bearing on the forgoing coverage issues.
......my soliloquy for today....Adolph C.