When Austrian network operator ONE started offering a SIM card for prepaid mobile broadband access that is valid for a year about 18 months ago it was a dream come true. In the meantime, Austria Telecom (A1) has followed and has a similar offer. Both are easy to get, you just walk into a 'Hofer' supermarket or A1 store, lay down 15 or 20 euros and you are all set.
Now Vodafone has started a similar offer in the UK as Zahid on his '3G and 4G wireless' blog and Andrew of 'London Calling' have already reported. For 39 pounds you get a 3G USB modem and a SIM card with one gigabyte of Internet traffic valid for one year already included.
Unfortunately, the offer seems to be a bit more complicated to get started with as the SIM card is not available without the 3G modem. I've asked a bit around and found out that the SIM can be used in another 3G stick as well and additional credit can probably be added by calling the phone number given here and using your credit card. Can't wait to try it out next time I am in the UK.
For the details and configuration, see the Vodafone UK page on the Prepaid Wireless Internet wiki.
I am glad to see this happening outside Austria in countries which are not at the very forefront of the mobile Internet revolution. I hope that during 2009, operators in additional countries will follow. The chances for this happening is not so bad, as competition for customers in the mobile Internet domain is picking up steam in other countries as well.