I'm curious, everyone compares Verizon to Sprint, T-Mobile, and AT&T. Why not US Cellular? According to their coverage map, they have a very large 3G footprint, well above T-Mobile and above Sprint and AT&T in many places, especially in the northeast. They also have a similar deal as Verizon with 450 minutes, unlimited texting, and 5GB of data for $69.99 per month. They also offer a 5% discount if you enroll in autopay.
My mother and sister have a US Cellular plan and they have coverage everywhere I have Verizon service, and better in some places.