Depends on your credit rating on whether or not you need a deposit. Verizon wanted one from me, then screwed me over.
I'm with Sprint PCS right now, mainly because I need nationwide coverage. Most carriers throw in long distance free anyway, so, in essence, all calls are local.
Wireless providers DO introduce a new concept instead of long distance though, roaming. Essentially, whenever you are out of your calling area, you get charged $$ in addition to airtime (minutes). Sprint's "calling area" covers the nation, just not very well. Over most interstates, and most urban areas.
Verizon, I remember, let you choose your level of coverage- state, zone, or nation-wide. When I was with them, I had the regional coverage; my home area was IL, WI, IN, IA, KY, MO, MI and OH. I figured, "how often am I out of this area right now?" Well, over the next 6 months, I placed calls from TN, FL, AL, and SC. Roaming charges add up.
Since I've been with Sprint, I've also been in OH, PA, NJ, NY, Delaware, MD, DC, VA, and WV.
My Mother, on the otherhand, hasn't left Illinois in 4 years, but visits my grandparents out in the sticks quite a bit, where Sprint doesn't reach.
Analyze where you go and how much you would use your phone.
BTW- my plan right now is
350 anytime minutes,
unlimited nights and weekends (9pm-7am)
unlimited Sprint Vision (wireless internet, I can hook my laptop up to my cell and surf the web while in my car!)
Other carriers to look into are T-mobile, AT&T, US Cellular (don't go with them they just bought right to rename Comisky Park from the White Sox, bastards) and Cingular.
When you buy your phone, I recomend Circuit City. It's not often I even have an opinion, but their customer service has been great lately. When I got my new phone, not only did they call Sprint and help me get my rebate (it was $100 for new customers, or those that had been with sprint for more than 8 months. I had renewed my contract a month ago and didn't qualify. It was applied to my account balence), but the sales associate who sold me the phone called me 3 days later to tell me that the price had dropped $50, and I could come in and get that + 10% refunded. I ended up getting a $150 phone for -$10!!!
[Edited 2003-02-06 07:26:39]
Happy contrails - I support B747Skipper and Jetguy