The switch made by mobile broadband from PC cards to USB modems was the point at which the service started to take off, IT Pro has suggested.
According to the computer news provider, PC cards were awkward to use and expensive, meaning they were used in the main by business people.
When the method of connecting to the internet via a mobile phone signal on the move changed to dongles, mobile broadband began to transform into the flourishing market we see today.
IT Pro explained: "What really changed the game for mobile broadband though was the move to USB.
"No longer was mobile broadband tied to PC Card slots, they could be attached to pretty much any computer and that included desktop PCs and Macs."
Recent figures show that 3 is one firm to have benefited from the mobile broadband boom, with the service being largely responsible for the increase of the provider's customer base from 4.5 to 4.7 million over the three months up to June this year.