I got my first cell phone in 1992. In the 14 years since, the only major failures I've had, either in terms of handsets dying or extended network outages, have been with Verizon. Last night Verizon coverage in Steamboat went out some time between 6 and 7 pm and wasn't restored until some time after midnight. I've never seen this before, even in some third world countries where I've spent extended periods of time. Unbelievably, at the same time our Comcast cable internet (which supports our VIOP phone service) also went out, so we were completely incommunicado.
Update: The plot thinkens. According to this report in today's newspaper, it seems another of my favourite telcos Qwest was involved. So it wouldn't have helped even if we'd kept our traditional land line as a backup.