3G broadband dongles could be offered free as part of mobile phone packages by 2009 reports broadband comparison site Top 10 Broadband.

According to Top 10 Broadband spokeswoman Jessica McArdle, while operators such as O2 are already offering dongles free with mobile broadband contracts, it's likely that by next year the devices will be bundled with mobile phone call and text tariffs.

"We envisage mobile broadband being a free add-on to mobile phone packages in the near future, in the same way as ISPs such as TalkTalk currently offer 'free' home broadband with home phone deals, further pointing to mobile bringing down the fixed line market," explained McArdle.

McArdle said that a series of price drops mean 3G dongles are no longer perceived as luxury products and have led to mass market penetration.

"The public has an insatiable appetite for cheap mobile broadband, and this hunger has led to packages that are cheaper, faster and more inclusive than they were two years ago. This move towards free mobile broadband is especially notable when you look at Vodafone's current flagship mobile broadband offering. At just £15 a month this package is 65 percent cheaper, four times faster and three times more inclusive in terms of download allowance than its £45 equivalent of two years ago," added McArdle.

See also: Mobile broadband access prices slashed