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UK internet service providers (ISPs) are offering mobile broadband speeds that are far inferior to those available in other parts of Europe.

This is a key finding of a new Ofcom study, which suggests that UK consumers are missing out on advanced dongle services.

The media regulator noted that mobile broadband speeds have increased significantly within countries where high-speed packet access plus (HSPA+) and long-term evolution (LTE) technology has been deployed.

Ofcom explained that many countries have upgraded their networks using such solutions during 2009 and 2010, most notably in Sweden where 100Mb mobile broadband deals are now available.

In the UK, the maximum speeds available to dongle users via a HSPA connection are 7.2Mb, restricting access to advanced web services.

Cost and regulatory issues are likely to prevent LTE broadband from being rolled out across Britain until 2014 at the earliest.

"UK mobile broadband operators have set out plans to build and introduce LTE networks and services over the next few years," Ofcom noted.

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