Some of it depend on how you use your phone. I don't use my phone everyday but I tend to have longer conversations when I do.
I've gone with Verizon's 1.99 per day prepay. That gives me unlimited minute any day I use it. It uses the Verizon network so around here it has the widest coverage.
However I have mixed feelings about the 19.99 Samsung that I bought from Walmart. It's the SCH-U350. It has good long battery life and talking on, it the sound is clear. What I don't like about it is that I'm always hitting buttons on the outside of it. I've deleted 100's of pictures of the inside of my pocket and I'm always fishing it out of my pocket and ending the please tell me a number to call routine. I've even had it call someone at 5am.
I made a friend of mine buy one so that he has a phone with him. He puts a hundred dollars on it all at once and that is good for a year. That is the cheapest way for him to have an emergency phone. His health is poor enough that a long walk is from one end of the van to the other.
I have a friend that has a trac phone it gets good coverage around here but I think it is expensive. Hunt around for one that comes with free double minutes. Around here it works on the ATT net work but that varies with where you are.
My husband purchased a Tracphone. The number they gave him comes up on caller id as some other guys name, let's call him Joe Blow. DH called their customer service center and could not understand the person he was talking to. 1st of all, my dh has a hearing loss plus the service rep. had a very strong Indian (as in Calcutta) accent. So our adult daughter offered to help & made a call to the Tracphone service center. She had a very difficult time communicating w/ the rep. for the same reason.. In the mean time my DH gets a call on his new phone from someone looking to talk to the guy, Joe Blow. Then Tracphone gives my DH a new number and this number comes up as someone else, lets call her, Suzy Q. CRAZY! Our daughter has had 4 conversations w/ a Tracphone rep. and is so frustrated she refuses to call them again. She also has 2 emails to Tracphone and no reply yet. It has been 2 days since she sent her last email. I suppose I will mail a letter.
Sounds like a complete pain. I suspect the problem is because Trac Phone doesn't have their own towers.Sounds about as much fun as I time I was providing tech support for my company and I had a pager. The trouble is Syracuse only had a couple exchanges that when to pagers. So what do I get. A number that lays near pagers that are being used by the Local Drug dealers and Prostitutes. It made for some interesting conversations.