I have had a Virgin Mobile phone for years now. They have been the best option for my family. My 15 year old son has had his own phone, but not used it much, so we dropped it. Since we had no contract with Virgin Mobile, there was no hassle. My husband and I both carry Virgin Mobile phones at this time. We've not had any dead zones without service in our area. Virgin is partnered with Sprint. The cost per minute is eighteen cents all the time, day or night. We only use our phones for short messages, not day to day talking. Text messages cost five cents. I often text my husband from my computer without problems.
Virgin Mobile requires a person to "Top-up" or add minutes/money to the phone in ninety days. But, the great thing about this is if you have money left over, it does roll. So say I put twenty dollars into my phone and have not used it within ninety days, I simply add more money to the phone, such as another twenty dollars, and what was left from the original twenty dollars is added on. It's really a great service for those looking for an emergency phone or one for quick messaging.