I have been able to get Hotmail to work on my 3G without MobileMe. It even pushes to my phone.
The settings I have on the phone are as follows:
Name: Your name
Address: email address (email@example.com)
Incoming Mail Server
Host Name: pop3.live.com
User Name: email address again
Password: your password for hotmail
Outgoing Mail Server
On the advanced options, it has Server port 995 listed.
I think the difference is the live.com servers. I used to use the hotmail.com servers to set up the email on my old devices, but I guess you don't see these changes much when the devices do it automatically, for the most part now.
Hope this helps.