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QXL.com Goes Mobile

Pan-European auctioneer QXL.com announced Wednesday a deal with mobile Internet portal iobox that will enable users to track auctions from their mobile phones.

QXL.com says the new service will have a variety of features, including the ability to tell users about the latest deals as soon as they become available. It will inform QXL.com members of whether they have met the reserve price on items for which they are bidding, and whether they have been outbid by someone else.

The new service, expected to become available within the next few weeks, will use Short Messaging System (SMS) technology which enables messages up to 160 characters long. This is sufficient, says QXL.com, for text descriptions and the latest auction bid prices.

Jim Rose, chief executive officer of QXL.com, said the addition of the iobox service was the first step towards becoming a true mobile auctioneer.

"For the first time, our members can track the status of their bids or hear about the latest auction bargains, independent of their PCs," said Rose.

iobox, with half a million users of its mobile Internet portal in Finland, Sweden, Germany and the U.K., was launched in 1998 in Finland. It offers mobile e-mail, chat and instant messaging, personal management services such as calendar and address book, and content services with news, sports, stock quotes, etc.

Jari Ovaskainen, chief executive officer of iobox, noted that by 2004 there are expected to be over 300 million mobile phones in circulation across Europe.

"With the increasing popularity of the Internet, the next few years will see greater levels of data transfer to mobile phones and increasing convergence between Internet and wireless technologies," said Ovaskainen.

During March, QXL.com launched in Poland at allegro.pl, and now operates in Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Denmark, Spain and the United Kingdom.