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Europe in Brief Dutch Railways has started experiments with SMS tickets. For a railway trip from the Netherlands to Cologne, Frankfurt or Dusseldorf, customers can order their tickets online. But instead of getting a ticket, they will receive a SMS message with a unique number.

No, it is not a world's first. Dutch company NoordNed Public Transport, running diesel lines from Groningen to Leeuwarden and vice versa, has been testing a similar system since 2002. Passengers in those trains can already use their mobile telephones as m-tickets. Ticket inspection is carried out with wireless hand-held terminals that receive and store the ticket’s validation number. When Dutch Railways are going to introduce SMS ticketing nationally is not known yet. The technology is supplied by LogicaCMG.


Hungary: Euroweb buys Elender

Nasdaq-listed Euroweb International is likely to acquire 100 per cent of Elender Business Communications Rt, Budapest Business Journal reports. With the aquisition, Euroweb will be the largest independent ISP in Hungary.

Euroweb already owns operations in the Czech Republic, Romania and Slovakia. Elender, with $22.5 million in revenue in 2003, has its strength in the corporate and public sector. However, on its own, it couldn't compete with dominant ISP Axelero Internet Rt, a subsidiary of market-leading telecom Matáv Rt.

Germany: first profit for AOL Germany

AOL Germany made a profit of €2 million in 2003, Die Welt reports. The US-led company lost money ever since its launch in 1996. In January, 2002, Time Warner bought out Bertelsmann's stake in AOL Europe, which at the time was losing $600 million a year.

Without Bertelsmann, AOL seems to be doing much better. An expansion into high speed broadband services in Britain, France and Germany have pushed the company into the black again. In 2004 AOL Germany expects profits of €20m - 40m.



Netherlands: ADSL outnumbers cable

The number of cable broadband connections in the Netherlands increased with 23.7 percent last year, Telecom.paper reports. However, the number of ADSL subscriptions doubled in 2003, outnumbering the number of cable subscriptions.

KPN reported an ADSL installed base of 746,000 at the end of 2003 and with Tiscali, Versatel, and bbned adding more ADSL subscribers on their own network, the ADSL network now has 951,000 connections, while cable has 940,000. Chello remains the largest broadband provider in the Netherlands. ®

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