Basically I'm getting the 'net with speeds like these guys were talking about "free" with the cellphone I'd be paying for regardless.
I travel a lot and need "internet anywhere". I was using Verizon's cellmodem (EVDO) service with an Expresscard device (Kyocera KPC680) for $60 a month flat rate, plus $80 a month for unlimited talk on a regular cellphone. It was just too much. Speed at speedtest.net was generally about 1.2mb/s inbound, creepy-slow outbound (little better than dialup, no hope of uploading a video).
I did some research, scored a Tmobile-branded Sony-Ericsson TM506 phone at a pawn shop for $60. Doesn't look like much but it was their first 3G phone and mine happened to be completely tether-friendly in Linux. $80 a month at TMobile turns it on for voice AND data - and in any reasonably urban area I seem to find 3G coverage at which point the thing can do data and voice at the same time - data obviously slows down some but what the hell, at least I can take a call. Tether speeds are around .8mb/s inbound, about .3-.4 outbound, so uploading a video is actually practical. Tethering speeds between USB and Bluetooth seem more or less identical, at least in Ubuntu Lucid.
You have to do your research on which phone to get - the TM717 is a later variant of my phone that has to be hacked on a bit to tether but it's no big deal. Some of the late versions of my phone might need tweaking. For anything else the key feature you need is HSDPA data and do some googling for Tmobile compatibility. TMobile is the most tether-tolerant of the major cellcos.
Point is, speeds in this range are usable. Doesn't sound like much and is absolutely not going to be a good idea for major torrents and such, but for basic stuff including Youtube/Hulu/etc. it works.