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Europe in Brief Subscribers to mobile operator Orange in the Netherlands can now choose their own mobile number, a luxury most European telcos do not yet offer to consumers.

However, there is a catch. While US telcos usually let you select from a few options at no charge, in Orange’s case you have to cough up €100 or more. The company also offers more exclusive golden and silver numbers, which look like 06-18102020 or 06-18051020. These will set you back € 200 to € 400.

Of course, that's nothing compared to the $500,000 Sichuan Airlines in China once paid for its preferred number, while Singaporians have to fork out $200 to $1,288. Mobile numbers where the last four digits are identical are sold in Singapore in a monthly bid process, which can go up to five figures. Just a question: Are telcos not making money on calls any longer?



Norway: Telenor and HP win prestigious contract

Telenor has been chosen as the main supplier of the ICT infrastructure at the new St. Olav's Hospital in Trondheim, the Norway Post reports. The new hospital aims to have Norway's most advanced IT solutions. Regardless of where they are in the hospital, health personnel will have access to important information such as patient journals wirelessly.

Telenor will cooperate closely with HP Norway. The contract could secure Telenor and its sub-contractors a total turnover of up to NOK 1 billion for the duration of the project.



France: record sales slump

The UPFI union of independent record producers called for emergency action against piracy on Tuesday, AFP reports. Record sales in France last year fell by 11 per cent. Singles saw the largest slump, a 25.5 per cent fall, while CDs and albums dropped 7.6 per cent.

The small independent music producers, who account for 15 percent of the market, saw a 15 percent increase last year. But the independents want action against piracy too. They reckon 130 million to 150 million music files are exchanged unlawfully each day in France, and that one out of every three records is pirated. One positive note: The increase in the market for ring tones has exploded. ®

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