The Middle East and North Africa IT spending are projected to reach $155 billion in 2018, a 3.4 percent increase from 2017, research firm Gartner predicts. Speaking at the Gartner Symposium ITxpo in Dubai on March 5, Smart Dubai's Dr. Aisha Bin Bishr highlighted the challenges in making confident decisions in an "increasingly indispensable" and disruptive ICT sector.

Read more: Digital disruption and the effect on legacy business

Egypt's Minister of Communications and Information Technology, H.E. Yasser ElKady, inaugurated the first phase of HitekNOFAL- Hengtong Optic, an optical fiber cables factory in Badr city, on 6 March, with joint Egyptian-Chinese investments, amounting to $30 million, within three years, between the Egyptian company HitekNOFAL and the Chinese Hengtong Group.

Read more: Egypt launches optical-fiber cable factory with Chinese investment

Qatar's Gigabit-speed fibre penetration is the highest in the world, thanks to the rapid roll-out of Ooredoo Fibre, transforming how people experience digital services, according to a new Arthur D. Little report launched at Mobile World Congress 2018.

Read more: Qatar’s gigabit-speed fibre penetration highest in the world, report says

Huawei delivered a comprehensive vision for fifth-generation (5G) networks, in addition to cloud, video, IoT, and more at Mobile World Congress 2018. The Chinese ICT solutions provider shared its vision for a collaborative ecosystem that could stimulate innovation and the development of these emerging technologies. The company launched over 20 new products and solutions at the event, underlining its commitment to industry innovation.

Read more: Huawei delivers 5G vision at MWC 2018

During Mobile World Congress this year, the Ministry of Telecommunications of Lebanon organized for the second year in a row a gathering for the Lebanese ICT diaspora to share the ministry's vision for the telecommunications sector, achievements and plans for the coming year.

Read more: The Lebanese ICT diaspora meets at Mobile World Congress 2018

Despite privacy concerns, more than a billion smartphones will feature facial recognition capabilities by 2020, Counterpoint Research estimates. But the technology will have a much wider range of use cases beyond smartphone authentication, including augmented reality and other applications such as security. The technology is already being implemented by police in China and the UAE.

Read more: Face ID expanding beyond smartphones

As technology suppliers develop the next-generation of wireless technologies, mobile operators invest in the networks of the future, and governments launch innovation programs, the early benefits of 5G will go to economies where globally aligned 5G spectrum and technology innovation is readily available.

Read more: Is 5G the competitive edge?

Saudi Arabia, a Kingdom famous for its conservative policies, made the bold move in September 2017 to lift a ban on internet video calling services, following coordination between the Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC) and local telecom providers to allow apps that provide VoIP. Now, Saudi's telecom providers are feeling the financial pinch.

Read more: Saudi’s bold move to open up the internet

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