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Passengers stay online while on track with Thalys

Commercial launch of Wi-Fi Internet on board Thalys trains in cooperation with Nokia Siemens Networks, 21Net and Telenet

(PresseBox) (Brussels, Belgium, ) Thalys singles itself out yet again with the commercial launch of WiFi broadband internet on board its trains.

The provision of continuous broadband connectivity throughout the entire Thalys network, whether in Belgium, France, Germany or the Netherlands is now a commercial reality. Already 25% of Thalys trains have been equipped to be fit for this purpose and by autumn 2008 the whole fleet will be so. Thalys's implementation of innovative WiFi technology is in response to both the high expectations of business customers, for whom train time can now serve as an extension of office time, and the provision of an enhanced travel experience for leisure passengers.

'Our aim is to continually expand our offer of services in line with the evolving needs and expectations of our customers: with Thalys, there is never a dull moment on board!' explains Jean-Michel Dancoisne, CEO of Thalys International.

The commercial launch of the WiFi internet service is right on track with the 'New Thalys' passenger orientated innovation strategy, following the launch of Thalyseo, Thalys's social networking platform set up in partnership with Viadeo and the recent extension of 'Ticketless' travel (travelling without a printed ticket) for Navigo subscribers. Upcoming months will witness the next phase of the 'New Thalys' campaign slipping neatly into place with the introduction of new staff uniforms, a total revamp of train interior design and, as the cherry on the cake, high speed journeys such as Paris to Amsterdam and Cologne clocking in under 3 hours and 15 minutes and 1 hour and 45 minutes from Brussels by 2009.

"The innovative solution provided by the consortium: high bandwith, reliability and service continuity on the whole Thalys Network.

Thalys has selected in September 2007 the consortium of Nokia Siemens Networks, Telenet and 21Net after a deep technical and commercial evaluation. The consortium has provided a complete hosted and end-to-end solution to enable broadband services on international high-speed trains. Under the terms of a managed services' contract, the consortium not only designed an innovative cross-border wireless network including on-board WiFi equipment and supplied and installed all necessary technology, but it also operates and maintains the complete network for Thalys.

The consortium has combined satellite and UMTS with Wi-Fi technologies to provide a continuous Internet connectivity on board the Thalys trains travelling across borders at the speed of 300 km/h. The choice for three complementary backhaul technologies was made to guarantee an optimal coverage in all countries, depending on the wireless technologies available along the trip. This seamless handover between the available technologies ensures the user on board the Thalys train the best possible Internet connectivity.

Paul Broekhuizen, Account Director for Railways - West Europe at Nokia Siemens Networks and Head of Consortium indicates this comprehensive managed services' scope brings key benefits for Thalys: "a high quality telecommunications service and a fast introduction of the WI-FI offer are assured, meeting quality and safety expectations and reducing risk and investment costs".

The Consortium capitalizes on the complementary skills base of the three companies in the group:
- Nokia Siemens Networks is responsible for the entire project management process. The company provides the network's WLAN technology. Nokia Siemens Networks installs, manages and maintains the network's resources. The company is also responsible for the management of special leased bandwidth for mobile operators along the train routes.
- 21Net implements and manages bi-directional satellite connectivity, providing broadband connectivity to passengers. The company has also obtained approval of all the equipment used in the global solution recommended by the Consortium.
- Telenet operates the commercial Internet services, develops and maintains the portal, including internet access and multimedia content. Telenet provides customer support via the ThalysNet Helpdesk.

Tariffs

For passengers travelling in Comfort 1, access to the ThalysNet portal and to the Internet is included in the ticket price, along with other services offered in Comfort 1: meals served in your seat, newspapers etc.

For passengers travelling in Comfort 2, access to the ThalysNet portal is free but Internet access is chargeable:
- 6.50 euros for 60 minutes connection time. Connection time is calculated from the first connection made and minutes can only be used during the course of one trip;
- 13 euros for unlimited access during the trip however long it may be.

Two payment methods are possible: either on line with a bank card (Visa, MasterCard or American Express) or by buying a scratch card at ThalysBar on trains with this facility.

About Thalys
To date, over 64 million passengers have already been carried between Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam and Cologne. Thanks to Thalys, it is even possible to travel without a paper ticket, using the Ticketless service. Mid 2009 Thalys will take you in 3:15 hours from Paris to Cologne and Amsterdam and in 1:47 hours from Brussels to Cologne and in 1:46 hours from Brussels to Amsterdam. Visit www.thalys.com for details of our offers and those of our partners and to find out about current affairs at Thalys or http://thalys.mobi, the site dedicated to mobile Internet users. Thalys is a product of the SNCB, SNCF, DB AG and NS.

Thalys is a member:
- of Railteam, cooperation between Europe's leading high-speed rail operators
- of the CER (Community of European Railway and Infrastructure Companies) and of the UIC (International Union of Railways)

About 21Net
21Net is a European operator who established the world's first bi-directional satellite communications system capable of delivering high speed Internet to high speed trains. Initially sponsored by the European Space Agency 21Net was the first provider to technically demonstrate the provisioning of broadband Internet on a high speed train, in 2004.Since 2004, 21Net has been working closely with leading railway operators RENFE, THALYS and SNCF to develop a robust & technically mature system.

21Net is committed to providing a great user experience with high data rates and seamless connectivity based on bi-directional satellite communications integrated with terrestrial wireless solutions for stations and tunnels. Its "Broadband To Trains" system is the only productized system capable of providing true broadband connectivity to high speed trains.www.21.net.com

About Telenet
Telenet is a leading provider of media and telecommunication services. Its business comprises the provision of cable television, high speed internet and fixed and mobile telephony services, primarily to residential customers in Flanders and Brussels. In addition, Telenet offers services to business customers across Belgium under the brand Telenet Solutions. Telenet is listed on the Euronext Brussels Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol TNET.

Media Enquiries

Thalys
Hopscotch, Paris
Audrey Bizet
Tel: 01 58 65 00 47
Email : abizet@hopscotch.fr

Thalys International, Brussels
Patricia Baars & Violaine Tennstedt
Tel: 00 32 2 504 05 99 – 00 32 2 548 06 34
Email : press@thalys.com

21Net
Marianne Alaux, Press Communications
Tel: 00 32 15 61 88 70
Email : marianne@21net.com

Telenet
Stefan Coenjaerts, Corporate Communications
Tel: 00 32 15 33 35 33
Email : stefan.coenjaerts@staff.telenet.be
Nokia Siemens