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The popularity of the Apple iPhone handset is driving greater interest in the mobile broadband market, it has been claimed.

Vivek Dev, chief operating officer of Telefonica O2 Europe, explains that the initial success of the device is likely to be complemented by more competitive pricing in the future.

"Our Apple iPhone is already driving unheard-of levels of mobile internet usage and the introduction of flat-rate data tariffs is expected to increase this further," the spokesperson states.

The firm is now looking into means of boosting indoor coverage for mobile phones by utilising a property's broadband connection.

Such technology is known as femtocells, which allow the handset's 3G capabilities to send calls more cheaply over the internet.

About 500 people are expected to take part in a further trial of femtocells this summer, with a commercial launch likely in 2009.

O2 recently revealed it had won a contract to provide construction materials manufacturer Saint-Gobain with mobile data services across the company's smartphones.

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