well! reflashing to stock fixed my problems.
followed your guide and entered all the settings verbatim.
the 3g icon is up, data is working
this leads me to believe that it's not actually 3g and just 1x.
according to mobile speed test i'm going at about dial up speeds (not even 1x) with 3 bars of service.
it just fixed itself when i cycled data mode on and off, thanks guys!
getting solid 1 mbps downloads with half that for uploads in my area of NE!