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Europe in Brief The Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation (OTE) vehemently denies reports that its Olympic overhaul of the Greek telecoms infrastructure is badly behind schedule, stressing that all relevant technology is in place, Athens News reports.

OTE is contributing landline, mobile phone, Web and data services to the Athens 2004 organising committee. It also provides the audiovisual network of the International Broadcasting Centre and helps to develop the secure radio communications system that will be used during the games. OTE says that 97 percent of the required fibre-optic cable has been laid, leaving about 25 kilometers to go. However, Athens' secure radio system was to have begun operation in April.

OTE says it will station about 1,000 technicians at Olympic venues in Athens, and 500 more in other cities hosting games events. Out of a total games expenditure of €306m, about €125m goes to new infrastructure.


Russia: phishing scams target Russian bank

Phishing hackers are now also trying to bait customers of Citibank CIS, according to The Moscow Times. Citibank last week warned its Russian clients not to respond to emails that attempt to fool users into disclosing online passwords, user names and other personal information.

Citbank says that since the attacks began a few months ago, it hasn't registered a single case of somebody divulging their information. Historically Russian Internet users have been more savvy than their western counterparts. Although it is funny that this should be the case as many of the phishing scammers happen to be of Russian origin. Last month British police arrested 12 Russian-speaking men who were recruited by the Russian mafia to act as electronic mules for money stolen in a phishing con.


Switzerland: tagging pets

A Swiss device that reads a dog's microchip and reveals its identity is getting extremely popular, Swissinfo reports. Swiss company Datamars hopes to boost sales when the EU makes electronic tags for cats and dogs mandatory from the beginning of July. In Switzerland alone there are an estimated 450,000 dogs. Given that the cost of inserting a microchip is around SFr80 ($63), experts believe the business of tagging is potentially worth up to SFr30m.


Hungary: mobile enterprises gear up for 3G

Hungarian IT and Telecommunications Minister Kálmán Kovács will invite tenders for 3G services by the end of August, Budapest Business Journal reports. The Hungarian government budgeted Ft 15.8bn (€61.6m) as target revenue from the sale of 3G licenses.

T-Mobile is committed to start rolling out 3G infrastructure in 2005, provided licenses are awarded by the end of this year and services can be implemented according to market developments and consumer demand. Another potential bidder is fixed-line operator Hungarotel Rt, which recently announced its intention to buy Hungary's largest alternative telecom PanTel Rt. ®

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