Sunday, August 1, 2010

Saudi Telco Regulator To Ban BlackBerry Messenger Service

Via -

Saudi Arabia's telecom watchdog has ordered telecom firms operating in the kingdom to stop BlackBerry messenger services later this month, an official said Sunday, hours after regulators in the United Arab Emirates said they would prohibit some BlackBerry services from October.

The Communications and Information Technology Commission, or CITC, issued a memo to operators asking them to block the service, the official, who asked not to be named, told Zawya Dow Jones. He declined to give a reason for the ban.

The United Arab Emirates telecom regulator said earlier Sunday it would prohibit BlackBerry instant messaging, email and Internet-browsing services starting Oct. 11 amid an ongoing dispute between Canada's Research In Motion (RIMM, RIM.T), the maker of the device, and U.A.E. officials over the monitoring of data.

Abdulrahman Mazi, a board member of state-controlled Saudi Telecom Co. (7010.SA) confirmed the watchdog's action to Dubai-based Al Arabiya television, adding that he hoped the move is "only a kind of pressure on [Blackberry maker] Research In Motion to take steps to provide information when needed."

Saudi Telecom alone has about 400,000 Blackberry users in the kingdom, while its other two rivals have about 290,000 customers in total. "CITC is adding its voice to the growing concerns over monitoring Blackberry Messenger service," said Asim Shuja Bukhtiar, senior investment analyst at Riyad Capital.

"The broader issue is regulatory concerns around email and web browsing--this in our view can impact operators' corporate customers and business travelers to the region. Eventually, RIM may come around to providing some sort of monitoring mechanism," he said.


Basically SA and UAE are unhappy because they are unable to break the RIM encryption and spy on their citizens...errr, I mean monitor the mobile activity of their citizens. ;)

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