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The number of people using mobile broadband globally could reach 2.2 billion in the next five years, according to Ericsson.

Speaking at a news conference in Singapore, Torbjorn Possne, senior vice-president of sales and marketing at the telecoms firm, said that exponential growth in emerging markets would account for the most substantial increases in the number of users worldwide.

He suggested that there are currently around 250 million mobile broadband users around the globe, with markets for the products in Asia and Latin America forecast to see considerable growth in the coming years, Reuters reports.

"Even now, about 50 per cent outside Western Europe and U.S. are looking to use mobile broadband," Mr Possne said.

According to the group, there are currently 350 million fixed-line broadband users throughout the world, although this is expected to double by 2013.

Earlier this month, Ericsson announced a deal with Irish operator Meteor to extend mobile broadband services throughout the country.

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