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The development of mobile broadband has come at the right time for mobile phone operators, according to one expert.

Lilly Peel of the Times has highlighted the opportunity presented by the mushrooming market for mobile broadband, especially for those operators who missed out on the fixed-line sector.

She commented: "Mobile broadband is proving a saving grace for mobile phone operators who so far have failed to gain a significant share of the fixed broadband market and risked becoming second-tier players in the world of internet access.

"For operators that did not invest in a fixed broadband network, such as Vodafone and T-Mobile, mobile broadband is vital because it gives an entry into the market."

According to recent research from Ofcom, sales of dongles in the UK have risen from 66,000 to 133,000 in the period between February and June this year.

Many of the new customers are thought to be young people who do not wish to share a connection with housemates, as well as those who sign up to a mobile broadband contract alongside their fixed-line offering.

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