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The number of people in Europe utilising mobile broadband technology soared to nine million last year, a new report has shown.

An investigation by the global media market research group Screen Digest has revealed that the usage of dongle devices rose by 800 per cent between 2006 and 2008.

According to the report, consumption of this technology is now larger than mobile music, games and television put together.

Screen Digest's investigation also noted that the number of providers offering high-speed mobile internet multiplied by nine in the two years up to the end of 2007 and suggested that the diverse connection options offered by operators have helped boost popularity.

Figures from the consultancy showed that two-thirds of providers offer prepay deals, while just under 60 per cent have introduced laptop packages.

Overall, the entire market in the continent was worth 1.8 billion euros (£1.62 billion) last year, the statistics disclosed.

An analysis published by WDSGlobal last month suggested that the costs associated with providing mobile broadband connections were 200 per cent more than other wireless internet products for operators.

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