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Data allowances are now essential for mobile broadband deals, a leading industry figure has claimed.

Vittorio Colao, Chief Executive Officer at Vodafone, said there needed to be a greater focus on tiered pricing models if internet service providers can continue to provide low-cost web access.

"The principle here must be that, a bit like motorways or hotels, every class of service needs to have its own price," he stated.

Mr Colao said that customers must be able to pay for the level of service they desire, especially as the demands placed on 3G networks continue to increase.

"Pricing should be adjusted to reflect the usage and load. We are approaching the end of the free era," he added.

Earlier this week, media regulator Ofcom announced plans to conduct a review of mobile broadband quality in the UK, after learning that satisfaction rates are lower among dongle users than consumers with a fixed web connection.

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