CITC wants exit visa to deactivate mobile SIM card

Updated 08 December 2012

CITC wants exit visa to deactivate mobile SIM card

Saudi Arabia’s telecom regulator said yesterday that it would ask mobile phone operators to inactivate chips of expatriates leaving the Kingdom on exit-only visas as part of its efforts to prevent misuse of the facility.
The Saudi Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC) said it was planning to adopt a number of resolutions aimed at preventing the sale of chips without taking identification of their owners.
The move comes after CITC noticed that some expatriate workers were selling mobile chips in the name of foreigners who have already left the Kingdom.
This is one of the reasons for the rapid growth of the cell phone black market in the country, especially after the CITC insisted that recharge of cell phones should be linked with the identification number of users.
The CITC made this system obligatory for security, social and economic reasons after it noticed the presence of a large number of unidentified chips, which could be used for different purposes.
Sultan Al-Malik, spokesman of CITC said his organization would cooperate with the Interior Ministry and the National Data Center while dealing with matters related to telecom services in the country.
“The cooperation of all parties to put an end to unidentified chips is essential,” Al-Malik said, adding that mobile phone service operators in the Kingdom have started implementing the linkage of recharge with identification number last Thursday.
Mobile phone users must enter their national ID or iqama number in order to recharge or transfer credit to other mobile users. Shops selling mobile phones have started disposing of a large quantity of unregistered pre-paid SIM cards following the CITC decision.
Authorities, who were previously unable to track the owner of the SIM cards, hoped the new measure will prevent the abuse of the Kingdom’s mobile phone services.
According to one telecom market source, there are millions of unidentified SIM cards in the country. These are leftovers by the pilgrims or given to others by expatriates after leaving the country on final exit visas.
One telecom shop owner praised the CITC for taking the new decision saying it would prevent people from taking advantage of the anonymity of unregistered cards offered and from using these cards for various crimes.
Most mobile shops have strictly implemented the CITC decision. A warning has been placed on all mobile phone retailers, which included a list of the consequences of violating the decision. This included confiscation of phones and cards, closure of the shop and deportation of expatriate workers.
Mobile phone service providers have been told that they should not activate a prepaid SIM card before verifying and validating the personal information of the purchaser.
The decision mandates the service provider to re-program its systems to ensure refusal of a SIM card recharge unless the user enters his ID number followed by the recharge number, and the system verifies that the ID number entered matches the ID number provided by the user at the time of SIM purchase.
“We’ll continue to take all necessary actions and decisions that will stop violations or limit the negative effects pertaining to the improper use of communications and information technology services,” Al-Malik said.

Arab News moves editorial headquarters to Riyadh

Updated 21 min 26 sec ago

Arab News moves editorial headquarters to Riyadh

  • Newspaper to be based at owning group’s corporate office building in Saudi Arabia’s capital
  • Managing Editor Mohammed Al-Sulami promoted to newly created position of Jeddah bureau chief

JEDDAH: Four decades after its establishment in Jeddah, Arab News — the region’s leading English-language daily — is announcing that it is moving its editorial headquarters to the Saudi capital, Riyadh.

The head office of the newspaper, which today celebrates its 43rd anniversary, will be relocating to the corporate headquarters building of its owning group, the Saudi Research and Marketing Group (SRMG).

The SRMG building — on Makkah Al-Mukarramah road in Riyadh’s Al-Mutamarat district — is also home to the headquarters of several of Arab News’ sister publications, including the Arabic-language business daily Al-Eqtisadiah, Arriyadiyah sports daily and the Saudi bureau of the regional pan-Arab daily Asharq Al-Awsat.

“When Arab News was established in 1975, most embassies and major corporations — including SRMG — were based in Jeddah. Things have changed since and given the magnitude of events and regional decision-making taking place in the Kingdom’s capital, it only makes sense for us to be moving into our owning group’s headquarters in Riyadh,” said Faisal J. Abbas, editor in chief of Arab News.

“We at Arab News claim to be The Voice of a Changing Region, and we can’t be that voice if we are not at the heart of this change. This move will bring us closer to local and visiting decision-makers, while our Jeddah bureau will continue to serve as an important regional hub,” he added.

The new address and contact details of the paper has been reflected in both its print and online editions as of today. The official inauguration of the new headquarters in Riyadh will take place at a ceremony to be held later this quarter.

Arab News also announces the promotion of Managing Editor Mohammed Al-Sulami to the newly created role of Jeddah bureau chief, supervising editorial and administration operations for the whole western region of Saudi Arabia. Al-Sulami — a Saudi journalist who has been with the newspaper since 2009 — assumes his new duties as of May 1, 2018.