Find out the week’s top mobile stories from around the world.

This week..  Apple’s privacy os changes seen as effort to edge out rivals, EU stuck on messaging app privacy rules, Facebook launches new market research app and much more.

Apple says recent changes to operating system improve user privacy, but some lawmakers see them as an effort to edge out its rivals

Washington Post

Apple has made strengthening privacy protections a central part of its brand. But critics increasingly warn that the iPhone maker may be using privacy as a guise for anti-competitive behavior.

The latest flare-up comes after Apple made changes to its new mobile operating system that it advertised as improving privacy, but that also give the company an edge over other app makers in using the device’s location-tracking features of the device.

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EU stuck on messaging app privacy rules

Mobile World Live

European Union (EU) member states failed to reach an agreement on adopting stricter privacy rules covering the handling of customer messages, calls and data by companies owning messaging apps, Reuters reported, noting this further delays attempts to offer parity with regulations covering operators.

The European Commission (EC) proposed tougher privacy laws in January 2017, which seek to prevent companies owning messaging apps, such as Facebook and Microsoft, from recording information including the location of the user or the time of the messages, with the exception of retaining information for billing purposes.

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Facebook launches new market research app after shutting down its controversial VPN service

The Verge

Facebook has a new market research app launching today called Viewpoints, just a few months after the company introduced an Android data collection app called Study designed to monitor what and for how long users are accessing other software on the Google-owned operating system.

Both apps have a controversial history. In January, Facebook shut down a market research app ostensibly offered as a virtual private network (VPN) provider. It was marketed to teens and used a special software certificate Apple gives out to businesses, designed mainly to allow the distribution of internal apps to employees, but not the public.

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Ericsson Makes Bold Growth Predictions for 5G, Cellular IoT

Light Reading

Ericsson expects 5G to account for 2.6 billion subscriptions and generate 45% of the world’s total mobile data traffic by 2025, according to forecasts included in its most recent Mobility Report.

The report, which analyses the global mobile market’s current state and includes predictions about how the market will change in the coming few years, notes that 5G is still in its infancy: By the end of this year only about 13 million mobile users are expected to have signed up for 5G services. However, 5G network expansion is expected to ramp up significantly in the next few years, with the Ericsson report team predicting that two thirds of the global population will have access to 5G services six years from now.

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Hyper casual gaming app usage is soaring

Mobile Marketing Magazine

Lightweight gaming apps – or ‘hyper casual’ games – are seeing a rapid increase in popularity, now accounting for the highest number of installs on average per app in 50 per cent of the top global markets, according to AppsFlyer. These tap-to-play, instant games, which rely on advertising to drive revenue rather than in-app purchases, only held the number spot in 20 per cent of markets last year.

The number of hyper casual apps in app stores has increased 170 per cent this year, which is more than three times the gaming industry average, while downloads have increased 150 per cent over 2018. Growth of the genre can be seen in major markets around the world including the US, most of Europe and Latin America, as well as India and Southeast Asia.

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Brazil beats US in 4G video quality

ZDNet

The quality of 4G video in Brazil is now better than the experience users have in the United States, according to a new global study by mobile analytics firm Opensignal.

Compared to last year’s report, video experience improved in 59 of the 100 countries analyzed in the report, and Brazil had an evolution of 6.4 points. This means that, for the first time, Brazil entered the list of countries where quality is considered to be good.

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Ghana to issue digital currency in ‘near future’

International Investment

Ghana’s central bank is considering the issue of a digital currency to complement the growth in electronic payment systems, such as mobile money.

The governor of the West African nation’s central bank, Ernest Addison, said Ghana could issue a digital form of the nation’s currency, the cedi, in the “near future” and is in talks to develop a pilot project in a “sandbox environment.”

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Apple expands Indian manufacturing, will export iPhones and components

Venture Beat

Finland’s Salcomp, a supplier to U.S. tech group Apple, is to invest 20 billion rupees ($278.67 million) in India to make mobile chargers and other smartphone components from March 2020, the country’s technology minister said on Monday.

Salcomp has reached an agreement to take over a facility, formerly owned by Nokia, in the southern Indian city of Chennai and will begin operations at the site by March, Ravi Shankar Prasad told a news conference.

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Eight in 10 UAE consumers plan to do their holiday shopping on a mobile app

The National

More than 80 per cent of UAE shoppers plan to do their holiday shopping on apps, higher than the global average of 58 per cent, according to a new survey from Salesforce.com.

Eighty-three per cent of consumers plan to make purchases via a mobile phone app, the company’s Connected Shoppers Report found, the second-highest rate globally behind Indonesia at 87 per cent. Respondents from the Emirates hold an average of five shopping apps on their mobiles, compared to three in the US and two in the UK and Ireland.

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