This is one of the things I'm grateful for this year. A few months ago we were exploring phone options for my husband's from-home accounting business. We didn't have a lot to spend, but he really needed a SmartPhone - something that would keep track of his appointments (we'd managed to forget a few here and there), get good reception throughout the area (he travels anywhere in the Ogden area), and work reliably.
We decided to try Cricket, since there were offering a free Android phone with sign-up. It had all the features we wanted, but the call quality turned out to be terrible, and the phone was driving him crazy. He couldn't type anything correctly - all the letters were mixed up!
Then I heard about RawData. I was very skeptical at first. I first saw it on an add on KSL. Could you really get a SmartPhone for only $40 a month? At that point there wasn't much on the web about this company - a Facebook page, and a survey (but only if you had a link - I couldn't find it through a google search). Now, they have a better web site: http://www.therawdata.com/ The idea is that, in exchange for greatly discounted phone service, they put a program on the phone that collects data about your reactions toTV and radio ads. They also occasionally send text messages to gather more data. The phone coverage is through Sprint, and is unlimited.
My husband has loved his phone (we paid a little more to get a Nexus S). It gets reception almost anywhere. The phone responds well to his typing (many fewer typos). He's been able to use it to patch an internet connection for his laptop when he really needs it. The text messages aren't too many, and sometimes it's even amusing.
I understand that RawData is now taking "Panelists" across the country. If you decide to check it out, let me know - they're also giving a referral fee, which I would love to have!