Ok guys, well here's a little background. I sell cell phones. When you get a Pre paid phone your renting your service from the tower. When you go into contract you now have full range of the tower. Think of a glass of water about half full, thats pre paid. Completely full is you contracts. Contracts are mostly for people with more then one phone. For example, I pay $100 a month for 2 smartphones with 1000 minutes, unlimited text, and 2GB of 4G data and then its throttled. Here's the best part, I'm usually on wifi so i never go over my data therefore I'm never throttled.
As far as prices go, pre paid will save you money, but aren't very reliable when in an emergency situation. Also, as food for thought, VM runs off Sprint towers. So if you have a dead spot somewhere blame sprint not VM.