Well finally found someone who has 3g evdo rev.a in my local area.
I did a speed test (speedtest.net and testmy)for where she lives using the built in antenna on her USB stick from Alltel (now owned by Verizon) so its an older "modem". She uses an USB extension cable and puts the modem up on top of her window's curtain rod.
The antenna is on the right side of the house so the window faces in the general direction the cell tower is in.
After making sure the antenna was upright instead of horizontal, I got 1.5mb/s down and about .4mb/s up ping time was 230ms. I showed her what happens when the modem is not the right position. Speed drops to less than a 1/2 of what it should be in the right orientation.
I'm about a 1/2 mile closer to the tower than she is so I should get an even better signal especially with an external antenna. The town is also covered by 4g/LTE according to Verizon's own map so I might be able to pull in the signal with a directional antenna.
What sucks is the wife is not ready to switch ISP's (or spend the money to get good equipment to share the connection) so I will probably have to wait for Christmas....
Stuck with WildBlue 500mb/s service until I get her to upgrade. ( Oh well.