After some more investigation I think I know the problem. The mini reads a thumb drive O.K. so the USB port is active but it can't automatically read the USB modem as according to what I've read, the modem manufactures have only developed drivers for about a half dozen modems for Android 4.0. The chinese PC manufactures hit the market with a ton of these little netbooks and very few drivers for Android 4.0 exist for devices. I have 5 different USB 3G modems but none are on the "approved and tested" list from the PC manufacture. I also use a 3G router so I can connect with the WiFi on the tablet.
' You don't have to have the best of everything to get the best out of what you do have'.