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2015

As part of the GSMA 360 series, GSMA has published The Mobile Economy: Europe 2015. Apart from addressing regional mobile penetration and innovation, the report focuses extensively on the potential of realising a Digital Single Market, which would require an 'overhaul of rules, policies and initiatives across the board' and 'a complete rethink of telecoms regulation in Europe'.

The ITU has released its annual Measuring the Information Society Report. Apart from an assessment of ITU's goals in the Connect 2020 agenda, the report furthermore includes the Global ICT Development Index, which captures 'the level of ICT developments in 167 economies worldwide and compares progress made since the year 2010'. Additionally, the report presents the outcomes of the ICT Price Basket, as well as recent developments related to the Internet of Things.

The Global Initiative for Inclusive Information and Communication Technologies (G3ict) and leaders of Global Accessibility have announced the release of a Global Charter which 'calls for governments around the world to purchase only accessible technology'. The text of the Global Charter can be viewed on the G3ict website

"A dialogue on zero-rating and network neutrality" was the title of one of the main sessions of the IGF2015, held in Joao Pessoa in Brazil in mid-November. A comprehensive report from the session is now available at the IGF website. The report summarises discussions led on four levels: the needs for more research on the effects of the zero-rating models, especially in developing countries; understanding different types of zero-rating and possible alternative approaches; exploring case-studies and current approaches to zero-rating in various countries; and identifying harms and benefits of zero-rating for economic growth, openness and online rights.

The ITU World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-15) has decided to provide enhanced capacity for mobile broadband in the 694-790 MHz frequency band in ITU Region-1 (Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia), allocating the band to mobile services, while protecting the other services that the band currently operates. ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao has called the decision 'a landmark in the development of broadband mobile on a worldwide scale' and said that 'it goes a long way in enabling bridging of the digital divide'.

In partnership with telecom provider Airtel, Facebook has announced that it will provide its Free Basics app (also known as Internet.org) to 17 African countries in phases by March 2016. Airtel and Facebook have been working together since 2014 and have already launched Free Basics in 6 African countries. Read more here.

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