Since my favorite cellular phone company has changed its rates (a couple months ago), I figured it was time to post an update.
Why is Virgin Mobile (USA) my favorite? Because it's cheap! I don't make a lot of phone calls (I didn't even have a phone before the impending birth of my daughter), so the idea of adding a $40 (or more) monthly bill was a bit unappealing. If you make 27 minutes of calls a month (or less), your bill can be $5/month. And your minutes roll over, so if you make 0 calls one month, you can make almost 54 minutes of calls the next.
The basic per-minute plan is 18 cents/minute. No extra fees, surcharges or taxes. No roaming or long distance charges. (You can look at my previous post to see what the rates used to be, if you're curious. The new rates are a little cheaper for me.)
If you end up using more than 87 minutes in a month, it ends up being cheaper to go with the $6.99/month (+ surcharges + 10 cents/minute). Above that, Virgin has typical monthly plans that give you a certain number of minutes, with expensive overage dings and what-not. At that point, other vendor plans might be more competitive.
But at the low end I haven't found anything that approaches Virgin. If you know different, please let me know via a comment!