When I last looked into this about 4 years ago, the mobile phone companies were:
a) charging about $80/month for their internet plans.
b) selling PCMCIA cards (small form-factor parallel PCI cards) that you plugged into your laptop w/ about 1" of them still extended out the side (the antenna that tranmited/received directly into their network .... the same network that carried their voice traffic). At the time, laptops were no longer carrying PCMCIA slots, having moved up to the next-gen technology ExpressCards (small form-factor serial PCI-Express cards), but the mobile phone companies weren't selling ExpressCard modems yet, so I gave up on pursuing this.
So, over the last few days I've wandered into several local mobile phone stores (Verizon, AT&T, Sprint), to inquire about what today's schemes are for wireless internet, and the kids they've hired to man their stores don't know what I'm talking about when I bring up ExpressCard modems. They talk about how "their" laptops all have the internet hardware built-in.
What the hell's going on? Since I can't get a good answer from the clueless kids the mobile phone companies hire, can someone fill me in on what is the state-of-the-art in wireless internet? Have the mobile phone companies given up on the internet and expect everyone w/ a laptop to go hang out in Starbucks to use their Wi-Fi? That would be re-friggin-diculous.