I had Sprint a number of years ago and they were bad (really bad). Now you have to look to see if 4G is available in your area. It is only available in a few areas (more coming). But that was the major problem with Sprint (they always said better coverage is coming soon). Boston is not available with 4G speed yet.
I know someone well enough in the upper side of Sprint and she was able to get me out a contract after a dispute. Thank God for that.. I hope Verizon is better.. Anyway, she stated Sprint has not immediate plans to extend their 'experimental' 4G network. So unless you are in the select few 4G nodes you will be out of luck with all this hype... I think any network provider will tell you 'dont expect 4G nationwide anytime soon'..
Verizon is working on their next high-speed network as well.. A report from engadget todays says:
Tony Melone, the company's Senior Vice President and CTO, seemed remarkably enthused that a bona fide LTE network would be launching "in the not too distant future," and when pressed for specifics, he stated that they would launch "25 to 30 networks this year, covering one third of America by the end of 2010." Beyond that, we're looking at a footprint twice that size "15 months" after the initial rollout, and by the end of 2013, the company's 4G coverage map will be the same size, "if not larger," than its existing 3G map. Of course, the carrier insisted that they wouldn't be abandoning 3G advancement while being fixated on 4G, noting that it was moving "fast and aggressively" on both fronts, with hopes that its LTE network would eventually eclipse even the 3G networks (in terms of coverage size) of competitors
Lets look at service first, again the way I see and experienced it.
When I am out driving the many miles throughout my state during the daylight or night time hours. Service is readily available in most roadways, highways and interstates. There are those moments when I get a drop in signal when I see miles down the road to what would be considered the next tower within my range and yet get the drop when switching from the one which I was next to and connect to the next. I notice two things, dropped call and or change in data speeds typically from Edge to 3G if entering near a small city, sometimes its seamless.
Is this only indicative of AT&T? No it is not, I also use two other phones one of which is T-Mobile on an iPhone (unlocked) and notice the same peculiarities with it as I do the AT&T sim iPhone. However when one service provider drops or is lower in signal the other is high in signal and or faster speeds. So not all towers are equal and don't always share the same connectivity for all types of users and therefore can not be used to indicate that just because there is a tower in sight (also remember there is an umbrella affect while under a tower, it radiates outward and in its "shadow" you may get no or little signal with all carriers) does not mean you should have great signal.
The other thing called Customer Service:
Any time I have called AT&T with questions or issues, I have always been greeted with a courteous representative and always have been more than satisfied with the end results. Sometimes I have walked away with free minutes, maintained rollover from one plan to another, large discounted bills and other things that all summed up together represents true customer service to me.
This is all coming from a person that works in a customer satisfaction related business in the way of computer, network and telephony sales service and maintenance. I try to make my customers as happy as I would want to also be treated from those whom provide me service, call it Karma or just respect, maybe even educated thought and not drawing conclusions based on conversations read on the Internet.
People are funny, and in one strange way wants to always fit in and most often where they are most welcome and accepted. It's always easier for most to just accept that crowd mentality instead of thinking for themselves and standing out. It's really not that hard to see the truth through all the hype when you take the moment to reflect on what you see and hear around you.
ATT on the other hand, I couldn't make a call from in my apt, nor would my phone ring unless i was outside....then i would have to go outside to talk and drop calls constantly. I thought the same as you...well those are the perils of cellular service. Then I got verizon and realized how wrong that statement was.
As for customer service....its great that you have had good service but my experience was about as bad as they get. Not going to get into details but lets just say they were not so helpful with the situation. VZW has always been great.
Experiences will vary..I just know I wouldn't wish ATT on my worst enemy.