What is the best cell phone service that isn't Verizon, ATT or Sprint?

I did some searches and couldn’t find a thorough thread about this. I am looking for Boost, Virgin, Revol, Cricket, etc users and their experiences, opinions, etc. Best can be defined in many ways: cost, coverage, reliability, phone options, etc.

I used Sprint til around 03 or 05 and Verizon since then. I am not in contract and spend way to much money on Verizon. I don’t need a ton of minutes (300-450) I do need a ton of txts. I don’t own a smart phone at this point, but I might make the leap if the data rates and phone costs are worth it (with ATT, Verizon and Sprint, it isn’t.) Money is more important at this point though. (I do travel, so the phone has to be national.)

Anybody’s 2 cents is appreciated.

I’ve used Virgin. It was fine.

The coverage is worse than Sprint’s coverage, since it’s just the Sprint towers, but no roaming onto other networks. But it’s still fine in any urban area. The service/support was no more terrible than any other cell phone company. The price was right.

All national service that isn’t T-mobile is AT&T, Verizon, or Sprint based- it is just sold under another name. Was there a particular carrier that was good at your house & work before ?
If you want data and can live with even less minutes, the cheapest decent data plan is the T-Mobile $30/month 5gb/Unlimited Texts/100 minutes

To add unlimited minutes too your best bet is straight talk - the $45/month plan is unlimited minutes/unlimited texting/no defined data cap but if you use more than 2 or 3GB/mo they will eventually kick you off. If you just buy a SIM directly from them you can choose AT&T or T-mobile based coverage.

The advantage of those two is that you can get a phone directly like the Google Nexus 4 that has both T-mobile & AT&T data support and switch between T-mobile & AT&T resellers if you need to. Something you can’t do with say, Virgin Mobile which is priced similarly to Straight Talk but you have to buy a “virgin mobile” branded phone.

When I was shopping for smartphones recently I found Boost appealing, $55 per month unlimited, and it goes down $5 every 6 months or so down to $35 a month IIRC. But you’d have to see if they have good service in your area.

FWIW I wound up going with TracFone which is very cheap ($10 a month or less) if you don’t talk much at all.

I am leaning towards boost or Virgin. Does Verizon have cheaper companies on their network?

PagePlus Cellular is a Verizon reseller.
Their phones operate on the Verizon network.
You can keep your current Verizon phone (unless it was originally sold as a Verizon prepaid phone) and keep your current number. PagePlus or a PagePlus dealer can port your service from Verizon to PagePlus in a matter of minutes.

They have a variety of different plans. For example, $39.95 a month gets you unlimited talk and text plus 100 MB of data. $29.95 a month gets you 1200 minutes plus 3000 text message plus 100 MB of data. Other plans also available.

No, the cheapest companies are on the worst networks - IE, Sprint resellers and T-mobile resellers are more numerous and cheaper. You can get Verizon prepaid via a couple of different places - Page Plus (bring your old, 3g! verizon phone - 4g sim card phones not supported). Also Tracfone companies have verizon - but they also resell all the others so you have to look online to see what phone maps to what network (Net10, Tracfone, Straight Talk all can be verizon - Straight Talk has one verizon smartphone choice but you have to buy it straight from them).

I love my month-to-month Virgin plan. $35 a month for unlimited text and web and 300(?) minutes. I don’t really talk much, I got it for text and web. They throttle speed after a certain point, but since I only use it for email and Twitter and things like that, and not streaming video, I’ve been fine so far. I had to pay $100 for my phone (LG Optimus Elite), and it’s pretty good. I wasn’t willing to spend more for bells and whistles but may upgrade someday. I’m in the DC/Baltimore area, so coverage isn’t a problem. I sometimes lose signal in large buildings, but that’s been the case for any cell phone carrier I’ve ever used.

Antigen, I am leaning towards Virgin. Boost/Virgin seem to be the most professional established of all these companies. Tmobile doesn’t offer a big enough discount to pull me in. Plus I don’t want to sign a contract.

It is hard to find good reviews on all these phones. Cnet dings everything for not being iphones or Galaxy3s.

My phone is fine, but nothing fancy. Touchscreen, runs an older Android OS (gingerbread), no slide-out keyboard, enough memory for my needs but not huge. Battery life is decent the way I’m using it - I charge it every night and it lasts all day.

I wasn’t sure I’d really use a smart phone, so I wanted a beginner style to test the waters. I’m addicted now.

T-mobile has prepaid too (which is what I am talking about). No reason to go postpaid, prepaid is generally cheaper.
As far as what is a good phone, I always use the Cyanogenmod list - if it shows up here :http://www.cyanogenmod.org/devices at the very least you will be able to root, install custom roms, overclock probably, regardless of what crap the carrier puts on there. Some newer phones aren’t yet on the official support list - google “phone name” plus Cyanogenmod and if you see a “full update guide” for your phone with actual instructions on it how to root & install cyanogenmod you are good.

What are these mods all about? Is it a new OS?

Cyanogenmod is a “custom ROM” - Android based, but fully rooted, with some customizations and no carrier bloatware. Cyanogenmod 7 = Android 2.3, Cyanogenmod 9 = Android 4.0, Cyanogenmod 10 = Android 4.1, etc. (8 skipped because Android 3 source wasn’t released until after 4.0 came out)

IMO unless you are a power user and the stock Android isn’t flexible enough for you, installing custom ROMs is a technical process and you stand the chance of bricking the phone.

If I was going with Boost I’d get the Samsung Galaxy S2. It’s just pricey.