The majority of internet service providers (ISPs) will abandon unlimited mobile broadband tariffs in the near future, one analyst has claimed.
Market intelligence firm iSuppli believes the days of unrestricted data usage could be coming to an end in Britain, as rising costs make the broadband deals unviable.
The company believes that those ISPs which still offer unlimited tariffs to dongle and tablet users will soon switch over to tiered pricing arrangements.
iSuppli claimed that the growing use of cloud solutions is leading to greater data consumption, and also creating an opportunity for ISPs to increase their profits.
Jagdish Rebello, IHS's Senior Director and Principal Analyst, commented that tiered pricing plans deliver multiple advantages to ISPs.
They will become more common as the growth opportunity in the wireless market shifts away from voice communications and toward broadband data services, he stated.
"In the short term, tiered pricing provides operators with tremendous flexibility to encourage increased data usage among average mobile broadband data users," Mr Rebello stated.
The tactic can also derive more revenue from power users that engage in greater consumption of network resources, he claimed.
"In the longer term, tiered pricing will allow operators to take advantage of and become relevant players in the new paradigm of cloud storage and cloud computing," Mr Rebello stated.
With faster mobile broadband services on the way in the UK, the number of people choosing to connect to the internet via USB modems and media tablets could be set to increase.
Ofcom is set to auction off 800MHz spectrum to the mobile telecoms industry, allowing UK ISPs to launch 4G services which are capable of faster download speeds.
Aligning super-fast mobile broadband with unlimited data plans could encourage more consumers to stream live video and consume other rich media via mobile devices, which ISPs are understandably wary about.
Rising mobile data use has applied pressure on 3G networks in recent years, and broadband providers are eager to avoid stretching themselves too far.