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EC issues draft ePrivacy rules for all digital providers 

The European Commission has published its proposal to update laws on the confidentiality and security of electronic communications by extending measures to all businesses that offer digital communication services. The new ePrivacy Regulation is intended to replace Directive 2002/58/EC and align all rules for electronic communications with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) introduced last year and due to enter into application by 25 May 2018. Above all, the EC proposes that privacy rules also cover new providers of electronic communications services, such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Skype, Gmail, iMessage, or Viber, and not just traditional telecom operators. “Our proposals will deliver the trust in the Digital Single Market that people expect,” said EC Vice-President, adding that “our draft ePrivacy Regulation strikes the right balance: it provides a high level of protection for consumers, while allowing businesses to innovate."

***Vodafone India is looking at a possible merger with one of the top four Indian operators Jio or Idea as the company wants to escape from a price war between Aircel and new player Jio, writes Telegraph.co.uk. Jio and Idea could themselves combine. Vodafone India was forced to halt its planned stock market flotation due to the fierce battle between Aircel and Jio which are owned by Indian businessmen and brothers Anil Ambani and Mukesh Ambani. Jio is currently investing in its new LTE network and is holding promotions to get a fifth of the market.

***Zain Group has announced the selection of five Kuwaiti nationals to participate in the company’s year-long graduate training programme, dubbed ‘Generation Z’. The recently revamped programme is targeted at candidates who display entrepreneurial flair and who will be able to inject a startup mindset during their time at Zain Group. The successful candidates were handpicked following a rigorous assessment process and will be placed on the year-long course, which will test their knowledge, enhance their learning through targeted development, and support them to cultivate their ideas in ways that are customer-centric and relevant. The ‘Generation Z’ Youth Empowerment Initiative is the brainchild of Zain Group Vice Chairman Bader Al Kharafi, a keen supporter of developing and empowering Kuwaiti youth and builds on the Zainers 2.0 graduate program that was launched in September 2015.

*** Togo has become the latest country to join a programme abolishing international mobile voice roaming charges between a group of west African nations.The Togolese Authority of Posts & Telecommunications Regulation (ART&P) signed an agreement last week with its Senegalese counterpart to introduce free voice roaming for travellers between the two countries from 31 March 2017. Via the pact signed in Dakar, Togo also abolished mobile roaming costs with Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea, Mali and Burkina Faso, all of which ratified a Protocol on regional roaming alongside Senegal on 28 November 2016. The Director General of Senegal’s Regulatory Authority for Telecommunications & Post (ARTP) announced upon Togo’s signing: ‘The free roaming will enter into force on 31 March 2017, [which] will enable those travelling within six Protocol countries … to receive and make calls as if they were in their own country.’ Although not mentioned in this statement, several regional publications have reported that a seventh country, Sierra Leone, is joining the west African roaming initiative, which is part of a wider plan to create a more united African continent as promoted by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

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