The wheels of change are very slow and very creaky, but it looks like Verizon’s promise of an open network where customers can use third party hardware has a taker. Sierra Wireless is offering up the USB 598 3G Modem for $199. You buy it, contract free, and go online, activate it on an existing Verizon plan, and away you go.
Now granted, you’re going to have to pay the freight for that 5GB a month capped bandwidth, but at least you aren’t tying yourself into a contract or a contract extension. I don’t see any mention of activation fees, so we’ll see how that pans out.