A few weeks back, everyone was all aflutter when the New York Times reported that you can save $1,000 by switching to a pay-as-you-go plan. Many of our readers then discussed whether this would be the right option for their talk, text, and web needs.
We began to wonder, though, what the nationwide cell and data coverage is like for these super-cheap networks. It seemed like a pretty big plot-hole to us, so we decided to fill it. Armed with a screenshot tool, we found the coverage maps for Virgin Mobile, Boost Mobile, and Cricket — the three per-month companies that are / will be getting the iPhone — and put them all in one place for you to compare, so you can make up your own mind about the relative value of the purported $1,000 in savings. Just to note: Boost Mobile is currently rumored to be getting the iPhone in September. But we included their coverage map just in case this rumors turns true!
Virgin Mobile's Coverage Map
Boost Mobile's Coverage Map
Cricket Wireless' Coverage Map
Verizon Wireless' Data Coverage Map (for comparison purposes)
(Assuming you're getting an iPhone, this is the important map, right?)
As you can see, you're getting about the same coverage with each of the three best pay-as-you-go options. That is to say: Some parts of the country can certainly benefit from switching to prepaid options, but others are left out in the cold.
What do you think, Montana? Is $1,000 extra in your pocket worth no coverage? Now that you've seen the kind of service you'll get, is prepaid cell service more or less of a consideration for you? Let us know in the comments, below!