So I bought a UMTS stick a while ago, so that I could have Internet in my hotel room when I’m on a business trip.
That worked all right with the work laptop, but I wanted to see whether I could get it to work with my personal laptop as well (which I had installed Lubuntu on a little while ago—sometime after coming back from Denmark, so within the last six weeks).
However, I couldn’t get anything to recognise the card.
After a bit of digging, I saw the suggestion to look at the syslog, which brought up the message GSM modem enable failed: (32) Failed to find a usable modem character set .
This lead to this thread in a web forum which contained the command usb_modeswitch -R -v 12d1 -p 1003, which did the job for the OP and also, fortunately, for me! Apparently, resetting the stick after usb-modeswitching makes it work decently. (The usb-modeswitching apparently happens automatically, but that seems not to be enough for my stick: a Medion-branded Huawei E220/E270.)
After that, I got prompted for a PIN, and when I entered it, the status LED switched from green blink-blink (“power on”) to blue blink (“registered in a UMTS network”), after which I could use NetworkManager to connect using the connection I had already created a while ago in a (then) vain attempt. Now activating the connection switches the status LED to solid blue (“connected via UMTS”) and I actually have an Internet connection. Hooray!
Now I can take my own laptop with me, should I wish to do so; it would let me keep the work laptop at work, rather than having to lug it back and forth between hotel and office every day, and I can still Internet without having to use the hotel’s WiFi network (for mucho dinero).