Here comes good news for expatriates living in Saudi Arabia as the Saudi authorities have announced to unblock video calling platforms – WhatsApp, Skype and Viber. The development has been widely welcomed by expatriates especially by Pakistanis and Indians who live and work in KSA.
The Gulf countries are reluctant in introducing instant messaging apps with video call features for untoward reasons of security and privacy concerns. The UAE unblocked WhatsApp video calling back in June but the action was undone immediately by saying that it was thru by mistake.
It is important to mention here that Viber was the first one to get axed by the Saudi government for failing to comply with “unspecified regulations” back in 2013. In the following months, Skype and WhatsApp were also blocked with a threat that more apps would also be banned if they did not follow the regulations set in place by the government. However, it was never made clear whether the ban was on the basis of censorship or business interests.
Saudi Minister Confirms
As far as Saudi Arabia is concerned, The Saudi Minister of Communications and Information Technology, Abdullah bin Amer Al-Sawahah said, “Coordination between the Communications and Information Technology Commission and telecommunications service providers is underway to enable everyone to benefit from applications that provide voice and video communications over the Internet.”
He further reiterated, “The cooperating bodies had confirmed their commitment to enable all users in the Kingdom to use applications to make voice and video calls of the highest quality. He added that all applications will be monitored and reviewed periodically.”
Al-Sawahah further said, “This cooperation between the Kingdom’s telecoms partners comes under the umbrella of ‘Customer First,’ a policy in which everyone works in order to give all telecom subscribers in the Kingdom the best services that meet their expectations and satisfy their needs.”
The Kingdom, considered one of the world’s fastest growing countries in terms of growth in the use of smart phones, has the highest average use of Internet by mobile networks globally. With Saudi’s National Transformation Program of 2020 and the Kingdom’s Vision of 2030, the new development surely seems a step to open up their digital market.
Let us see what happens next! Keep visiting these pages for more updates.