3 has jumped on the prepaid 3G broadband wagon (alongside Telstra and Optus), rolling out a range of plans that are yours for the purchase of a $129 USB key and SIM. While we've repeatedly noted in the past that 3's relatively narrow coverage makes it a risky choice, there's one bundle on offer that helps allay that objection: $149 for 12GB of data, with a 12-month expiry. That's a solid choice for someone who won't use the service every week, but (say) makes regular work or family trips to another capital city.
Other recharges (with a more conventional 30 day expiry) include $15 for 500MB, $29 for 2GB or $49 for 4GB. You can roll over unused allowances from one period to the next if you recharge, but can't have more than 15GB of data in credit. As ever, the kicker is still what happens when you roam off the 3 network outside capital cities onto Telstra. There's a tiny roaming allowance on each plan, after which you have to pay $7.50 for 4MB (yes, that's megabytes). That works out at more than sixty times the cost of the 3 data on the entry-level plan.