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Saudi Arabia

Messenger call outage leaves users baffled

RIYADH: Netizens across the Kingdom on Tuesday expressed concern and astonishment as voice and video calling for Facebook messenger and imo have stopped working in Saudi Arabia.
Internet-calling on Viber and WhatsApp were already stopped earlier in the Kingdom citing technical reasons, but on imo, it rings when called, but without connectivity.
The free Internet messenger and call service Viber was shut down for failing to comply with telecom regulations.
The Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC) has also issued a warning that it will do the same to other smartphone apps that fail to comply with telecom regulations.
“Appropriate action will be taken against applications or services that do not comply with the regulations,” a spokesman at the commission said.

CITC officials could not be reached for comment on Tuesday, however, when approached, an STC official refused to comment saying he has no idea.
Earlier, reports were carried by a section of local media that telecom companies were planning to launch a collective effort to stop people making free Internet calls within the Kingdom or abroad to connect with their dear ones living in various countries.
These reports cited loss of revenues by the telecom operators in the Kingdom as the reason to put constraints on the use of Internet voice calls.
When making a call using these smart phone apps, a message appears on the screen saying, “calling unavailable because your carrier or country does not support the service.”
Dismayed by the change in policy to stop free Internet calling, citizens and expatriates alike expressed concern as Haider Zulfiqar commented on Facebook, “Social apps play a major role in our day-to-day life. It is an important aspect in the Internet world. Blocking them is not appropriate.”
“Mobile app conversations and visual communication are very crucial especially when we are living in a new era where Internet and social media outlets play a huge role in our daily life,” said Zeyad Abdullah, a PR manager, adding that it is not the loss of revenue but a marketing strategy by telecom operators to earn greater profits by stopping Internet calling.
“How can calls made from smart phone apps like Skype, WhatsApp, imo, Yahoo and Facebook messenger be stopped when they are used worldwide by millions of people with online connectivity,” said Iffat Aabroo, a housewife.
“The telecom operators instead should improve their services and avoid unnecessary promos and cutting amounts from the balance for various services not required,” she added.
“As soon as I learned about this, I deleted those apps because I knew there was no use for them. Instead, I downloaded Tango and Line and I was happy they were working with better connectivity,” said Waleed Jameel.

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