Fingerprint to be recorded for issuance of mobile SIM

Updated 27 January 2016

Fingerprint to be recorded for issuance of mobile SIM

JEDDAH: The Communications and Information Technology Commission has said that the country’s security agencies would enforce the new regulation requiring all telecommunication subscribers to register their fingerprints.
A CITC source, who preferred anonymity, said that fingerprints would not be required for recharging of airtime. This was a new law related only to identification of all subscribers, including visitors, Gulf citizens and Haj and Umrah pilgrims, he was quoted as saying by local media on Monday.
The CITC decision was announced last year, but implementation was delayed because some mobile service operators in the Kingdom required time to obtain fingerprint registration devices from abroad. The new measure was introduced because the current system was not working, according to reports.
The first phase of the decision will include new customers, and will require that fingerprints be provided on special devices to obtain a SIM card. The devices will be linked to the National Information Center to ensure the identities of SIM owners are accurate.
The decision was based on the Ministry of Interior’s request to ensure information of SIM cardholders are protected, and to prevent people from obtaining mobile phones with fraudulent identification cards.
The CITC had previously put in place strict requirements to obtain pre-paid SIM cards, including a written contract requiring an applicant’s full name, national identity number, nationality, phone number, details about the service requested, date and signature.
Abdur Rahman Al-Mazi, a communications and information technology expert, said that an estimated 18 million subscribers may be lost to companies providing communication services, which would result in loss of earnings.
He said that there were 53 million subscribers in the Kingdom in a population of 30 million. “There were many people with two or more services and others who could not be identified.”


Traditional Saudi game jumps to the digital world

First prize winners of this year’s tournament came home with cash prize of SR750,000 and a BMW. (Photo/Social media)
Updated 29 min 5 sec ago

Traditional Saudi game jumps to the digital world

  • First prize winners of this year’s tournament, Fahad Al-Shibani and Saud Al-Shibani, came home with cash prize of SR750,000 and a BMW

RIYADH: Baloot, a card game similar to bridge, has developed from a traditional game — usually played at family gatherings — to an online game for your mobile phone.
The Saudi Arabian Federation for Electronic and Intellectual Sports launched in Riyadh the third baloot tournament, which has attracted more than 18,000 participants including 40 female teams. The total prize money is SR2 million ($533,234).
The third baloot tournament showed an unprecedented number of players this year, bolstered by the participation of female players.
First prize winners of this year’s tournament, Fahad Al-Shibani and Saud Al-Shibani, came home with cash prize of SR750,000 and a BMW. Second prize winners received cash prizes of SR500,000 and third place players won SR100,000.
The electronic version is now more popular among Saudis than the original, which requires at least four players.
“The main feature that these baloot apps provide is that I can play the game anytime and anywhere, I don’t need to wait until I find three more people to complete the team,” said Saad Al-Amri, an undergrad student from Abha. “I also don’t lose control as I sometimes do when I play it with my relatives,” he added.
However, Al-Amri admits that playing baloot online made him more addicted to the game, saying that some days he spends 3 hours playing.
Baloot apps are not new and the market continues to grow. Apple’s App Store boasts over 30 Baloot apps. In Android’s Google Play store, the number of apps is even higher, ranging from platforms for playing the game, to apps that teaches the rules, to calculators that help users track their scores in the traditional version.
On top of the list of apps are two famous versions called “Kammelna” and “Baloot VIP,” with both reaching over 1 million downloads.
There are other apps that are less popular but also have strong downloads figures. “Tarbeeat Baloot” and “iBaloot” have just over half a million and 100,000 downloads respectively.
According to the website of “Kammelna,” a Saudi app, they started working on it in 2008, and currently have more than 1 million subscribers, with an updated ranking list for the best 100 players published daily.
Baloot apps can charge paid subscriptions, ranging from monthly, quarterly, semiannually or annually. Some apps sell points to customers who can replace them with special features in the game.
Subscriptions start from around SR30 per month, giving users additional features such as access to a special playing room and the ability to start private conversations with other players. Some apps have unique tournaments to encourage users to compete with each other and win points that they can use in future games.