I found it very useful. In 2008-2009, I was getting around 3.5 Mbps on my iPhone 3G in good AT&T areas. I jailbroke it and used PDANet to enable USB tethering. That speed was good enough for web surfing, 720p video and more than enough for streaming audio. Had no problem using Telenav GPS or any other data enabled app that I used at the time, so long as I had decent coverage.
But there was such a thing called 1xEV-DO which was functionally 3G service with Verizon. I know, because I had several phones that were 1xEV-DO capable. That service was sunset end of 2019, IIRC, along with 1xRTT.
I'm not surprised... Back in the early 4G/LTE days, we landed in lots of places where 3G (EVDO) was the norm and usually had good service for our normal Internet use including streaming. As streaming video PQ cranked up of course, LTE became the preferred service when available. It's rare to see 3G locations now, but there's still a few towers around that haven't been upgraded in the back country.