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3's Mobile Broadband USB Modem looked a touch familiar when it landed at CNET.com.au a short while back, and indeed it should. The 3 Mobile Broadband USB Modem is in fact a Huawei external USB modem of exactly the same type as the . We can't think of a better descriptor for the modem than that which appeared in the original review:
"The USB modem looks more like a soap-on-a-rope, or at least soap-on-a-USB-cable."
As with the Vodafone variant, 3 gives you a small USB cable for direct connection, as well as a lengthier USB cable with optional second connector for providing additional power.
The USB Modem uses HSDPA with a top data download speed of 3.6Mbps and upload speed of up to 384kbps. The client software -- Windows or Mac -- is extremely simple to use, but then again this is a modem only; there's precious little to configure.
Usage of the Mobile Broadband USB Modem is subject to 3's data tariffs. At the time of writing, 3 plans were available. AU$29/month will score you 200MB of data, AU$49/month nets you 1GB and the top tier AU$69/month plan comes with 2GB of included data. All 3 plans have a 10c/MB excess usage charge within 3's Broadband Zones, but roaming usage outside that will cost you a hefty AU$1.65/MB. That's a tasty AU$1650/GB, so it would be well worth your while to limit your roaming usage, if not eliminate it altogether if possible. The modem itself has a list price of AU$399, although signing up for a plan drops the price to AU$20, AU$10 or free, depending on plan type and duration. Given that it's functionally useless without a plan, we can't see a point in buying it outright.