The Netherlands, France and Singapore have among the lowest prices for mobile broadband plans. In France, an unlimited download plan costs just over £10 (US$15) per month.

In a cross-country comparison of mobile data pricing, ABI Research found that some countries have already seen the introduction of innovative pricing plans, including pricing by time rather than data downloaded.

For example, mobile data plans in Italy and The Philippines allow for unlimited downloads, but with a limited amount of available time per month.

Best mobile broadband deals compared

Vendors must also ensure that their price plans remain transparent and fair. Consumers and watchdogs have complained about excessive and uncapped data costs for users who unknowingly exceed their allotted maximum download limit.

This can be mitigated by the use of data caps above which users cannot continue downloading, or through informative advertising detailing the number of web pages or online videos represented by a given data package.

"ABI Research expects the price of mobile data to fall in emerging regions where network capacity is still under-used," says ABI Research analyst Bhavya Khanna.

"However, in developed markets with high levels of smartphone penetration, operators will have to rethink their current pricing strategies of high or unlimited data download plans, as data usage has grown exponentially."

PC Advisor Broadband 2009 report