T-Mobile in the US

So I was on the west coast for the last two weeks (business and vacation, I'm from Austria) and I bought myself a prepaid T-Mobile SIM (unlimited calls, 2.5G and international calling for 80$). And wow. Wow. Never in my life did I have so bad cell service. Even in big cities like San Francisco and the LA area I often had no connection at all, Edge or really bad HSDPA. I didn't have cell service in my San Francisco hotel and my Las Vegas hotel.

Is it like this in the rest of the US as well? Did I have just bad luck? I was using a Nexus 4 and I never had any problems here in Austria. Is AT&T that much better?

Anyway....just had to post this even if its meaningless :) But still, paying 80$ for that crap is just insane. I know the country is big but here in Austria I get 2.000 minutes, 1.000 SMS and 2G of data for 8$ a month without a contract. And I can actually use it as well.