I'm disappointed the author didn't look at any non-Apple solutions. I have a Droid on Verizon with outstanding coverage for voice and data, even in the middle of Iowa farm country, and I only pay $65/month plus tax. My voice plan doesn't have 1000 minutes, but with free nights, weekends, and calls to other Verizon customers (almost everyone I know since AT&T coverage is terrible in the rural midwest) I have never had a problem going over my monthly 300-minute talk time allowance.
The no-contract advantage is one I can't beat. Luckily, I don't mind as I don't have any plans to switch carriers or lust after other slightly-better phones until LTE/4G is available in my area.