Apple’s FaceTime service now blocked in Kingdom

The FaceTime logo
Updated 07 July 2016

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.”

Warning as sandstorms hit Riyadh, other parts of Saudi Arabia

Updated 2 min 7 sec ago

Warning as sandstorms hit Riyadh, other parts of Saudi Arabia

  • Low visibility causes widespread traffic disruption

RIYADH: Saudi authorities have issued a weather warning as massive sandstorms continued to sweep through the Kingdom.

Winds of up to 31 km per hour hit the Saudi capital on Monday, causing widespread traffic disruption due to low visibility.

Sandstorms also caused problems in the Al-Jouf, Northern Borders, and Qassim regions as well as in Eastern Province and Najran.

The General Authority for Meteorology and Environmental Protection forecasted conditions to continue on Tuesday in the Eastern Province, Najran and southern parts of Riyadh.

Eastern parts of the southern highlands and the regions of Makkah and Madinah have also been warned to expect strong winds whipping up sand particles. Thunderstorms were predicted on the heights of Jazan, Asir, Baha and Taif.

Riyadh traffic officials advised motorists to drive slowly and use their vehicle headlights, and the General Directorate of Civil Defense urged residents in the capital to stay indoors wherever possible. Health experts warned that exposure to sandstorms might cause breathing difficulties especially for people with respiratory problems.

The maximum temperature recorded during the sandstorm in Riyadh was 28 degrees Celsius with a low of 14 degrees Celsius. Humidity was pegged at 14 percent in the capital.