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There is speculation that the broadband industry could follow the path of mobile operators and allow online shoppers to be billed for items via their broadband contracts.

It is now commonplace for mobile phone contract holders to be able to pay for goods bought online as part of their monthly phone bill.

Now broadband providers are thought to be considering following suit, effectively turning into credit issuers.

Speaking to Total Telecom, Fran Heeran, chief technical officer at billing experts Valista, has warned of the risks broadband providers will face when issuing credit.

He recommended: "Operators can establish payments and settlement systems which provide the operator and consumer with visibility and a record of the transaction which can reduce operators' liability and improve the customer care experience."

Currently, mobile phone contract holders signed up to billing platforms can make payments online, without the need for debit or credit cards.

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