UK service providers have started a price war over mobile broadband, after one carrier claimed that 10 per cent of users are mis-sold packages.

On Friday, Telefonica’s UK operation, O2 UK, announced that research it had carried out revealed that one in ten mobile broadband users feel they were mis-sold on what it offered.

The main quibbles are the cost of the service, with nearly a third of users complaining that the ongoing cost was higher than expected. Around 20 per cent felt misled by coverage claims, and half wanted wifi included as standard.

As a result, O2 has overhauled its own mobile broadband packages, and has launched a more accurate coverage checker, and included a 50 day ‘Happiness Guarantee’ as standard. Also, international roaming will no longer be automatically enabled for all O2 mobile broadband customers, in a bid to prevent bill shock when overseas.

The carrier is reducing the price of its core Mobile Broadband tariffs, with the 3GB package now costing £15 per month, with customers purchasing an 18 month or 24 month contract receiving a free USB modem, which costs £99.99 on a rolling monthly contract.

For heavy users, O2 is introducing a 10GB package for £30 per month on a two year tariff.

O2 also offers all its customers unlimited wifi through any of the 6,100 hotspots it has access to through a partnership with The Cloud.

By way of a response, UK quad play operator, Virgin Media, made its own Mobile Broadband offering more attractive on Monday. For existing and new subscribers to its XL and L fixed broadband packages, customers will be able to get mobile broadband for £5 per month. Subscribers to Virgin Media’s other packages will need to pay £10.

Virgin’s mobile network piggybacks on T-Mobile UK’s network, and the new package offers 1GB of data per month on a 12 month contract. Usage over the allowance is charged at £0.0146 per MB. The USB modem, in dongle form, costs £25.

Virgin Media only launched its first ever Mobile Broadband offer last month, adding another string to a bow, which already includes cable broadband, fixed line telephony, IPTV, and mobile services.

Meanwhile, for enterprise users, 3 Business, the new small business division of mobile operator 3 UK, on Monday launches two new offers to give small businesses more cost effective access to mobile broadband.

The bundles, called Broadband 5GB and Broadband 15 GB, increase in bundle data allowance from 3GB and 7GB to 5GB and 15GB respectively. 3 Business also allows any small business buying an 18 or 24 month mobile broadband or voice package to buy a second mobile broadband plan at half price. Existing customers will get 50 per cent off line rental for the new plan.

The new packages are also designed to be used in conjunction with the recently launched D100 mobile broadband router, which allows multiple users to share a single mobile broadband connection when used in conjunction with a dongle.