KSA rings in joy, lifts WhatsApp call ban

Updated 07 February 2016

KSA rings in joy, lifts WhatsApp call ban

JEDDAH: Users of WhatsApp were a joyous lot on Saturday as the call facility finally became available on the popular messaging service in the Kingdom.
The facility, which is for free now, through WhatsApp was earlier banned in Saudi Arabia and only messaging service was available. “The ban has been lifted in the Kingdom,” said local media on Saturday.
Riyadh-based software engineer Faisal Haleem termed it a good initiative which will “help open up the telecom market and bring the rates down for both local and international calls.”
Sultan Abdullah, a student at King Abdul Aziz University, said: “I heard about the free call facility through my friend on WhatsApp. I tried and it was indeed working.”
In the past, he said, every time you tried to call someone via WhatsApp, a standard voice message would tell you that this service is not available in your country.
Mirza Abdul Muqeet, a Pakistani expat in Jeddah, welcomed the news. “In this day and age when such free apps are available, it was painful to spend huge amounts on telephone bills,” he said. “I would run bills in hundreds of riyals calling my relatives in Karachi.”
He claimed that telephone call rates are among the highest in Saudi Arabia and thanked the Saudi authorities for the move.
A few months ago, WhatsApp had issued a statement on its website that read: “Unfortunately, the WhatsApp Calls service is not available in all countries due to local laws and regulations.”
The statement continued: “If you are in any of these countries, you will not be able to make or receive these calls, and if you are in a country that offers the WhatsApp Calls service, you will not be able to call users located in countries that do not offer the service.”
Meanwhile, the CITC, telecom regulatory authority in the Kingdom, did not confirm whether the call facility is temporary or permanent.


‘Wusool’ transport program benefits 60,000 Saudi women

Updated 20 February 2020

‘Wusool’ transport program benefits 60,000 Saudi women

RIYADH: Over 60,000 Saudi female employees have benefited from Wusool, a female transportation program that helps ease their daily commute.

The program aims to find solutions that reduce the burden of transportation costs for Saudi female workers in the private sector by providing them with subsidies from the Human Resources Development Fund (HRDF) for high-quality, safe and secure transportation services to and from the workplace, partnering with taxi companies through licensed smart apps.

The program aims to increase the participation of women in the labor market and increase job stability. 

The HRDF said it made amendments and updates to Wusool to ensure that the largest number of applicants benefitted from it. This comes as part of the HRDF’s support for women working in the private sector.

The procedures included amendments to the terms of enrollment in the program, including the requirement to be registered under the General Organization for Social Insurance (GOSI), where the employee should be registered for less than 36 months, and her monthly salary should not exceed SR8,000 ($2,132). SPA Riyadh

The amendments also included a fixed monthly financial support provided by HRDF, covering 80 percent of the cost at a maximum of SR800 per month, in addition to the cancelation of the previously planned financial participation of SR200, and extending the support period to 12 months.

Women working in the private sector can register for the Wusool program by visiting http://wusool.sa.