It seems like all the 3g WWAN technology comes from the same Partnership.
HSDPA/UMTS is in the same family of technologies as HSPA 7.2, GSM (Global System for Mobile) and LTE (Long Term Evolution). All are represented by the 3d Generation Partnership Project, a collaboration of equipment makers and carriers.
This stuff is way over my head, but, from what I've seen, the 3G connections work well with most flavors of Linux. The Sony laptops, on the other hand, I remember from a couple of years back, were problematic with Linux. I don't know from experience if that's true today, but if it was me, I would want to find some vendor that will allow that usb stick to be plugged in.
I had the same experience when I last shopped for a laptop, so, I told the store manager I was displeased, wrote an email to customer service (which was never returned), then, took my business to Dell.