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.”


Major projects, investments worth over $685bn unveiled on Saudi National Day

A photo taken on July 5, 2018, shows Bader al-Ajmi, 38,(L) owner of "One Way Burger" serving customers from his truck at a main street in the capital Riyadh. (AFP)
Updated 22 September 2018
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Major projects, investments worth over $685bn unveiled on Saudi National Day

  • The private sector’s contribution to the GDP at constant prices doubled to around SR1236.6 million in 2017

JEDDAH: A major economic boost in the form of 10 major projects and investments exceeding SR685 billion ($183 billion) were unveiled as celebrations of the 88th Saudi National Day got under way.
The Council of Saudi Chambers released a report focusing on great economic achievements in 2017.
These projects reflect the Kingdom’s vision under the wise leadership of King Salman and that of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to provide a brighter future through diversifying sources of national income, tackling environmental challenges and increasing investment and prosperity.
The report summarized the most important events and economic developments in the Kingdom over the past year. These include the lifting of the ban on women driving in June, and the establishment of the General Authority for Cyber Security, in addition to the numerous royal decrees providing financial support to Saudis.
It also noted the important decisions related to the Saudi business sector. These include the launch of a private sector incentive program with a value of SR72 billion, the privatization of 10 government sectors and the establishment of the General Authority for Real Estate. The private sector is still showing a strong performance as an efficient partner in the inclusive development process and in the achievement of the Kingdom’s 2030 Vision, the report noted, as it contributes 39 percent to the Saudi gross domestic product (GDP).
The private sector’s contribution to the GDP at constant prices doubled to around SR1236.6 million in 2017. There has been increased contribution to GDP from non-oil private sector streams.
The private sector also witnessed an increase in the number of workers, in its capital, in the number of shares on the Saudi market, in the cumulative number of establishments operating in the Kingdom, and in non-oil exports.
Continued growth of the private sector was attributed by the report to the Saudi government’s support. This support comes through initiatives such as the removal of obstacles to financial development, improvements to the working environment and policies adopted to boost investment.
It also reviewed the private sector’s efforts to support diversification of the economy and lower unemployment rates.
The importance of the measures taken to prioritize the employment of qualified Saudi workers over the employment of expatriates in the private sector were stressed, as well as the sector’s role in providing education and health services.