In Brief:Zain, Ericsson collaborate on 5G research and development 

Zain Group and Swedish equipment vendor Ericsson have entered into a 5G research and development agreement, which will allow the two partners to evaluate performance and applicability of potential 5G key technology components. The collaboration aims to develop new 5G use cases, requirements and deployment scenarios, thus paving the way for 5G deployment in the Middle East supporting Zain’s transformation towards digitisation. Zain Group’s CTO said: ‘As a leading 4G operator, we are always working to ensure that we are first to market with new innovations for our customers. Working with Ericsson will enable us to gain additional insights into our customer market and potential growth areas supporting our vision of being a digital lifestyle operator.’

***Germany’s federal parliament,the Bundestag,has approved new transparency guidelines proposed by the Federal Network Agency (FNA) for the telecoms sector.Under the legislation,fixed and mobile providers will be required to provide greater transparency in the marketing of their broadband connections,including informing customers of the actual data transmission speeds of their broadband services.In addition,fixed and mobile operators will be required to provide customers with information on the contract terms, contractually agreed data transfer rates, the conditions for the renewal and termination of the contract,monthly costs and data volume allowances.Furthermore, the monthly invoice must include,among other things,the end of the minimum contract term, the notice period and the last calendar day on which the termination must be made in order to prevent a contract renewal.The new regulations are expected to enter into force after a six-month transposition period.

***China Unicom Global(CUG)has launched a U.K.MVNO service that allows customers to assign more than one phone number to a single SIM card.The service,called CUniq,runs on O2's network,and supports U.K., Hong Kong,and Mainland China phone numbers.Anyone with a CUniq SIM card can travel to these destinations and access mobile services at local rates without swapping their SIM.The service also supports roaming in a further 45 countries.CUniq also provides customer support in English and Chinese.

***Regulators in New Zealand have pushed back the proposed merger of Sky Network Television and Vodafone New Zealand due to the ‘significant volume’ of material the country’s Commerce Commission needs to work through.The watchdog recently asked for more information in order to assess how the planned deal,which was announced in June this year,could impact competition in New Zealand’s telecoms and pay-TV markets.There are concerns that the combination of Sky and Vodafone could hinder competition and negatively impact rival broadband and service providers in the country.According to the Commerce Commission:‘Rival broadband and mobile providers could lose or fail to achieve scale and become less competitively effective.’ The regulator has set a new decision date of 23 February 2017 for the proposed merger.

***China Telecom Global(CTG),the international operating subsidiary of China Telecom Corporation(China Telecom)has selected the Djibouti Data Center (DDC),to help facilitate network expansion,colocation and submarine fibre cable access services in East Africa. The Djibouti Data Center has been built to Tier III data centre standards and serves as a major meeting point for submarine fibre cable systems including the new Southeast Asia-Middle East -- Western Europe (SEA-ME-WE 5) submarine cable designed to connect Asia,the Middle East,Africa and Western Europe.China Telecom Global is a founding member of the consortium for SEA-ME-WE 5, which is expected to be ready for service in late 2016.