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An increased interest in social networking websites will fuel the uptake of mobile broadband, according to new research.

Consumer desire to connect to networking sites while away from fixed internet connections will drive mobile broadband growth over the next five years, a study from Strategy Analytics has revealed.

The international report Mobile Internet Forecast Update 2001-2013 has suggested that usage will also increase as the number of internet-ready handsets rises.

Nitesh Patel, senior analyst at the research firm, explained that recent growth has been spearheaded by the introduction of low-cost mobile broadband packages from providers.

"Fundamentally, access to desirable content on the web, such as social networks, webmail, and infotainment, will drive demand for internet access products," he said.

David Kerr, vice president, added that despite the current economic climate, increased consumer spending on mobile broadband is likely.

He commented: "During this period we anticipate price competition on data access from operators, as well as greater consumer adoption of flexible casual browsing options that meet the needs of a broader base of cellular users, such as low-priced, daily capped rates."

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