Fifth generation (5G) networks will soon be a reality in the Middle East following the successful completion of the first implementable Release 15 5G New Radio (NR) specifications published in December 2017 at the 3GPP TSG RAN Plenary Meeting in Lisbon, Portugal. The announcement set the stage for the global mobile industry to start full-scale development of 5G NR for large-scale trials and commercial deployments as early as in 2019.

Read more: The Middle East gears up for 5G

The impact of economic reforms and new regulations introduced by the Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC) in Saudi Arabia could negatively impact the kingdom's telecom sector, says a report by NCB Capital, the investment arm of Saudi lender NCB. The net income of Saudi Arabia's telecom sector is expected to decline 1.4 percent in 2018 to SAR 9.3 billion driven by lower revenues.

Read more: Saudi reforms could dampen telecom sector, report says

Vodafone is exploring investment opportunities in Egypt and looking to expand its business plans in the field of outsourcing, according to a statement released after a meeting between Egypt’s Minister of Communication and Information Technology, Yasser ElKady, and Vodafone Group Plc. Executive Director and Chief Financial Officer, Nick Read.

Read more: Vodafone explores investment opportunities in Egypt

Ride-hailing services Uber and Careem will be allowed to continue operations in Egypt after a court ruled on April 7 that a previous judicial decision to suspend the licenses of the companies should not be applied, according to judicial sources reported by Reuters.

Read more: Uber and Careem allowed to continue in Egypt, court rules

Emirates Data Clearing House (EDCH), a subsidiary of Etisalat Services Holding, hosted the seventh GSMA Wholesale Agreements and Solutions Group (WAS#7) in Dubai from March 19-22, featuring keynote speakers and an update from the GSMA Technology Group on industry-wide issues affecting all GSMA work. Emirates Data Clearing House General Manager, Nasser Salim, encouraged attendees to collaborate and "take steps to improve our industry."

Read more: EDCH hosts GSMA Wholesale Agreements and Solutions Group in Dubai

Facebook is facing scrutiny after it was revealed in March that in 2014 a London-based political consulting firm had harvested the data of Facebook users to profile individuals and direct political campaigns and biased content to users, trying to influence their political opinion. Facebook is now reeling to win back the trust of its users, making privacy tools easier to find and suspending the accounts of abusers.

Read more: The power of harvesting data

The United Arab Emirates government has launched a global emerging technologies startup competition dubbed "GovHack Series" in eight major cities around the world. The competition is part of the GovTech Prize, a UAE government initiative that has been running for its 6th year.

Read more: UAE launches global emerging technologies startup competition

Popular crypto-currency bitcoin, famous for its fluctuations in value, has made some of its early investors into millionaires. But an expert speaking at the recent World Government Summit in Dubai warned that consumers need to look after themselves when it comes to digital currency, as they cannot rely on regulation to protect them from market volatility or cybercrime.

Read more: Should digital currencies be regulated?

The UAE Council for Artificial Intelligence held its first meeting on March 26, cementing the country's status as a trailblazer in the technology sector. The well-being of citizens was the main topic of conversation at the first meeting, and also the Council's objectives in implementing the UAE Strategy for Artificial Intelligence.

Read more: UAE Council for Artificial Intelligence holds first meeting

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