I can't address worldwide travel, as I have not taken my phone beyond the United States and Canada.
I know that many people here don't like Sprint PCS, but I think that for the money, they are the best deal around.
I pay just under $39 per month (taxes included). For that, I get:
500 Anytime minutes
1500 Night and Weekend minutes (8pm to 7am)
500 PCS to PCS minutes
I have had this plan for about a year. I think Nights and Weekends for new users begins now at 9pm, but I talked with a representative from Sprint who thinks the company will change it back to 8pm when the new plans are released later in February. Apparently, users aren't happy about all providers cutting back on off-peak minutes.
Also, the plan I have normally goes for $49.99, but through my (former) employer, I have a "volume discount."
In the 2.5 years I've been with Sprint, and in all the cities I've been to flyinf with Comair, I've NEVER had to ROAM. There is an occasional dropped call, but to call it anything more than occasional would be overstating the problem. Certainly, there are no more dropped calls than what I've experienced with Airtouch, Verizon, Cellular One. Sprint does not have service in Canada.
Also, I spoke with a Sprint rep last month who said later this summer, Sprint is supposed to release some kind of modem for laptops that has such a high transfer rate it will put RoadRunner internet service to shame. Maybe he was just hyping it up, but that's what he said.
i have been a sprint pcs customer for five years. The service is subject to dropped calls as the phone occasionally fails to complete the transfer between towers. but its not too bad.
the main thing is the coverage area, as its digital only, so if youre in western kansas youre screwed. however, 99% of the places i fly into or am at have service.
my plan has 1000 peak minutes and 3000 off peak minutes for 80$, including long distance. excellent value.
the newest thing that is close is Verizon wireless just released a 900/3000 plan for 79$. their coverage area is everything sprint has but it also has analog service to the other 70% of the country including almost all of the rural areas. check out ther coverage map on their website. I am considering switching companies.
the phone i carry is the motorola star-tac dual band. this phone has all the features I want, except it has no alarm clock like the nokia's. I have had it for two years and it now has 40,000 minutes on it. it has also been dropped about three times a week. I highly recommend it. Avoid the samsung sprint phone. The microphone squelch is too high and about 1/2 the time it cuts out the speakers voice.
I use Sprint for domestic cell phone service. It's cheap, and it works well enough for me. I use it for all of my domestic long distance calls.
As for overseas, I usually tell my wife not expect a call unless I'm running late by more than a day. I don't have a worldwide cell phone so I use the local phone and dial the AT&T service. It's pricey, but available everywhere. Go to www.att.com/traveler for info and get a little pocket card with all the access numbers. It's been a lifesaver when the company's left me high and dry a few times.
Folks I do the AT&T thingy...it works throughout the continental US and in AK too. $30 a month for 300 anytime minutes and 1000 night/weekend minutes. I also have a Sprint calling card if I need to use a payphone/hotel phone.
I dropped Sprint due to lousy coverage in my area. Their customer service sucks too. Besides these two things they were good (inexpensive). But, you get what you pay for.
I chose Verizon over AT&T. Service is good so far and I pay half as much as my buddy with AT&T with similar coverage and I get more minutes. I would give the service edge to AT&T though... but not by a significant amount to warrant the greater cost.
After looking at them all and how they would work for me... it came down to AT&T vs. Verizon. Due to your location you may find a better company but I'd give these two consideration.
I guess I'll throw in my thoughts. I used to be an AT&T customer a year ago, and had many problems with call quality, dropped calls, etc. My plan also wasn't that great: no long distance, no roaming. I could get those, but it cost a ton. I switched to Sprint after they offered me a discount through AA.
Compared to my AT&T phone I had, the Sprint [;an is far better. My plan is only 29.99 for 350/2150 (8pm-8am), no LD or roam charges on Sprint network. That is the only problem I have had with Sprint: if you travel off their network, they nail you for roaming charges. But, in all the travels i've been on, I "rarely" go to roam. If you stick to populated areas (mainly freeway corridors) you will have no problems, and the other benefits of the sprint service will outweigh this one negative compared to other companies. It is also true their is no service in Canada if you go their often. If you're looking for reasonable, quality service, and stick mainly to the cities, go with sprint.