Mobile broadband could be bundled with standard contracts as early as 2009, a broadband comparison site has claimed.
If the current rate of price-cutting continues, mobile broadband will soon be perceived as free of charge, according to Top 10 Broadband.
"Competition is reaching its zenith in the mobile broadband market," said Jessica McArdle, a spokeswoman at Top 10 Broadband.
"It is only a matter of time before mobile broadband modems are offered for free in conjunction with mobile phone packages in the same way as ISPs such as TalkTalk currently offer 'free' home broadband with home phone deals."
The uptake of mobile broadband mirrors the rapidly expanding market for mobile phones in the early 1990s, before which a mobile phone was considered an extravagance, according to Top 10 Broadband.
McArdle pointed to Vodafone's mobile broadband package which costs £15 a month. "Sixty-five per cent cheaper, four times faster and with three times the download allowance than two years ago," she said.
Data charges, although still high compared to 'unlimited' traditional cable and ADSL connections, are a less than tenth of the price two years ago when they averaged £45 per gigabyte. T-Mobile now charges £3.50 per gigabyte.
Several laptop makers have said that they will build cellular modems into upcoming models, obviating the need for dongles.
But the rise of mobile broadband is unlikely to put much of a dent in the market for fixed-line domestic broadband in the UK, according to Steven Hartley, a senior analyst at research firm Ovum.
"Right now mobile broadband is marketed by the operators as a complementary service," Hartley told vnunet.com. "Fixed-line has too much traction in the UK to be replaced by mobile any time soon."
In markets such as Austria, where high-capacity, dense mobile networks and expensive fixed-line broadband have achieved low penetration, mobile broadband will look attractive to users.
Furthermore, a growing number of peripatetic young professionals, brought up in the mobile phone era, will see mobile broadband as a natural choice, Hartley believes.
But the demand for high-bandwidth applications will ensure that fixed-line has a long life. "If you want to watch high-definition IPTV you will need a fixed line," said Hartley.
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