Messenger call outage leaves users baffled

Updated 11 May 2016

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.


Attacks on oil facilities in Kingdom threaten world economy: Saudi energy minister

Updated 35 min 20 sec ago

Attacks on oil facilities in Kingdom threaten world economy: Saudi energy minister

  • Aramco says no staff injured in attacks
  • Aramco is currently working on restoring the lost quantities

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s energy minister said drones that attacked Saudi Aramco installations had caused an interruption of an estimated 5.7 million barrels in crude supplies and threaten the world economy.

Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said as a result of the terrorist acts, oil production in Abqaiq and Khurais was knocked out temporarily and that estimates show that 50 percent of the company’s production had been interrupted.

Part of the decrease will be compensated to clients through reserves, Prince Abdulaziz said in a statement carried on the Saudi Press Agency.

The newly appointed minister confirmed there were no injuries to staff at the locations targeted, adding that the company is still assessing the resulting damage.

The attacks not only target the Kingdom’s vital installations, but also target the international oil supply and threaten its security, he said, and are a threat to the world economy. 

The blasts took place at 3:31am and 3:42am at the two locations, both in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia, causing fires that were brought under control by emergency services.

The drone attacks, at the world’s largest oil processing plant at Abqaiq and at an oilfield in Khurais, highlight the importance of the international community to protect energy supply against “all terrorist sides that carry out, support and finance such cowardly disruptive acts,” the statement said.

He said that these blasts also knocked out the production of 2bn cubic feet of associated gas daily, used to produce 700,000 barrels of natural gas liquids, which will lead to an approximate 50 percent decrease of Ethane and natural gas liquids supply.

The statement said the company is currently working on restoring the lost quantities, and will present updated information within the next 48 hours.

World leaders condemned the attacks on Saudi Arabia on Saturday and those behind the terrorist acts. 

Donald Trump called Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to reassert his country's “readiness to cooperate with the Kingdom, by all means conducive to maintain its security and stability.”

The Crown Prince "underscored the Kingdom willingness and strength to thwart such a terrorist aggression and deal with its consequences,” SPA reported on Saturday.

The UAE said it “condemns this act of terrorism and sabotage and considers it as a new evidence of the terrorist groups’ attempts to undermine the security and stability of the region as a whole.”

“The Houthis must stop undermining Saudi Arabia’s security by threatening civilian areas and commercial infrastructure,” said the British government.

“The US strongly condemns today’s drone attacks. These attacks against critical infrastructure endanger civilians, are unacceptable, and sooner or later will result in innocent lives being lost,” said the US envoy in Riyadh John Abizaid.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was emphatic about the need to condemn Iranian aggression, specifically on Saudi Arabia, and the need to ensure the security of world energy supplies.

“Tehran is behind nearly 100 attacks on Saudi Arabia while Rouhani and Zarif pretend to engage in diplomacy. Amid all the calls for de-escalation, Iran has now launched an unprecedented attack on the world’s energy supply. There is no evidence the attacks came from Yemen.” he tweeted, “We call on all nations to publicly and unequivocally condemn Iran’s attacks. The United States will work with our partners and allies to ensure that energy markets remain well supplied and Iran is held accountable for its aggression”

The Houthis, who are backed by Iran, said they had carried out the attacks and that 10 drones had been used.