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| 20 September, 2017

Saudi lifts ban on internet calling applications

Image used for illustrative purpose. A Saudi man explores social media on his mobile device in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Image used for illustrative purpose. A Saudi man explores social media on his mobile device in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

REUTERS/Faisal Al Nasser


Saudi Arabia will officially unblock applications that provide voice and video calls through the internet starting from tomorrow, Thursday, September 21, the Saudi Communications and Information Technology Commission has said.

The regulator confirmed to Zawya in an emailed statement that applications which meet regulatory requirements will be unblocked for use by the public from 12am. The applications that are being unblocked include Skype, Facetime, Snapchat, Tango, and others. A few internet calling apps that do not conform to the regulations in the kingdom will remain blocked.

The decision is in line with the kingdom's aim to adopt advanced policies in the communication and information technology sector, and to provide the best services for users, the statement added.

The UAE still bans the use of voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services, including WhatsApp’s voice and video-calling services. After a short activation of the apps in June this year, a block was re-enforced and The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) confirmed “that any applications or services of this nature must be subject to the regulatory framework in force in the country”.

© Zawya 2017