Apple’s FaceTime service now blocked in Kingdom

The FaceTime logo
Updated 07 July 2016
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Apple’s FaceTime service now blocked in Kingdom

RIYADH: The communication authority and the companies working in the Kingdom have blocked the FaceTime communication service for users of Apple mobile devices.
FaceTime is a free audio visual communication service on Apple devices for which many Saudis were opting to purchase new units from abroad, as it was available only in those editions available outside the country. But the blocking of FaceTime on Apple phones purchased abroad has taken many users by surprise.
Saudi netizens have contacted Apple through Twitter, enquiring about the blocking of the service. The response was that it was blocked by the Kingdom’s telecommunication authority and not the company.
The users of FaceTime have expressed their disappointment on social media. They said that the decision to block FaceTime didn’t have any logic. Several other such services have also been blocked and they still work in most countries. They have demanded that an enquiry should be made to learn the reason behind the blocking and who benefits from the decision. They have also urged the concerned authorities to restore the service.
Asif Al-Murshidi, a researcher in new technology and a developer, said: “FaceTime is an advanced service of Apple. It gives users the facility to talk in audio and video free of cost on mobile data or Wi-Fi. The blocking of this service will result in dependence of users on normal communication tools. It makes it clear that the communication and information technology authority was working hand in glove with the companies which were trying to force customers to use normal communication methods. They are not bothered about improving the service they provide.”
He said: “The decision to block such programs does not do justice to the citizen. Talking on paid services is costly, particularly when you are talking to parties abroad. It is needed by the parents and relatives of the huge number of Saudi students abroad.”


Crown prince: Saudi investment in India to reach $100bn

Updated 46 min 47 sec ago
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Crown prince: Saudi investment in India to reach $100bn

  • Mohammed bin Salman says value of investments to increase rapidly over next two years
  • Modi praised relations between the two countries after signing cooperation agreements

DUBAI: Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said on Wednesday he expects Saudi Arabia’s investments in India will be worth $100 billion in the next two years.

During a press conference with India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the crown prince said the Kingdom had invested $10 billion in technology and small companies in India which had “achieved very remarkable returns.”

Speaking on the second day of hist India visit, and after the signing of five agreements with Modi, the crown prince also said that there were many opportunities for India in Saudi Arabia.

“We expect that the opportunity we are developing in India in many fields will exceed 100 billion dollars over the next two years,” Prince Mohammed said. “We want to work as two governments to ensure these investments and achieve beneficial returns for both countries. 

“We also hope that relations between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and India will contribute to providing more opportunities for Indian laborers and manpower to contribute to the future of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and building the Kingdom's Vision 2030.”

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The crown prince spoke of the depth and history of relations between the two countries, acknowledging the role Indian labor and businesses had played in the Kingdom’s development.

He also said the economic partnerships were grounded in the two nation’s similar challenges - “extremism, terrorism and the security of the Indian Ocean.”

He said Modi’s visit to the Kingdom in 2016 had achieved investments worth $44 billion in refining and petrochemicals.

The two countries planned to expand India’s oil storage capacity to make India an “important regional center in distributing oil and its products.”

The crown prince and Modi earlier oversaw the signing of agreements in the fields of investment, tourism, housing and information and broadcasting.

The crown prince arrived in India after a two-day trip to Pakistan as part of a tour of Asia.

Earlier he attended a ceremonial welcome in New Delhi after landing in the country on Tuesday evening.