Now I do get around quite a bit and I am always fascinated at the differences that exist of how prepaid wireless Internet access is offered in different countries. Now here are the two most extreme examples I have encountered so far (except for countries in which no prepaid wireless Internet access is offered):
Here, you go to a supermarket, buy a prepaid SIM for mobile Internet for 9.98 euros that already includes 512 MB of Internet traffic that is valid for 12 months. No ID, no activation, it works out of the box in 0 seconds. In case you don't have a 3G USB modem yet, you get it together with the SIM + 3GB of data valid for 12 months for less than 50 euros. Details here. Ah yes, and you can choose between many offers and network operators.
Apart from being dead simple for a user, there is also 0 waiting time for the customer and 0 cost as no special stores and no interaction with special sales personnel is required. Remember, you just buy the SIM in the supermarket like a candy bar.
Here, there seems to be only one network operator offering prepaid Internet access for notebooks on GSM/UMTS. You can buy a prepaid SIM but I am not sure if/how one can buy a 3G modem on the spot that works on 850/1900 MHz 3G without a contract. Fortunately I have one anyway 🙂 You get the same amount of data for $50 but only valid for a month. And the wild thing: You need to register the IMEI of the device before the offer is activated. Now that's a first! Not quite as customer friendly as the example above.