BlackBerry Users Guessing in Saudi, Assured in Oman

Manila Bulletin, August 10, 2010 | Go to article overview
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BlackBerry Users Guessing in Saudi, Assured in Oman


RIYADH (Reuters) - BlackBerry users in Saudi Arabia were left guessing for a second time in a week on Tuesday after a deadline to address security concerns about encryption lapsed, but service continued normally.

However, manufacturer Research In Motion (RIM) did receive good news from smaller Oman that it does not plan to block BlackBerry services, citing a "philosophy of free market in the sector.

The telecom watchdog in Saudi Arabia, the Communications and Information Telecommunications Commission (CITC), on Saturday gave the kingdom's three mobile companies until Monday before it cut BlackBerry's Messenger function.

More than one hour into Tuesday in Saudi Arabia, BlackBerry services -- including the Messenger function -- appeared to be working normally, but CITC had not issued any statement.

Saturday's ultimatum by CITC was the second in a week. It threatened to cut the popular function for some 700,000 users in the kingdom on Friday, but allowed it to continue as talks with RIM and Saudi carriers started making some headway.

The 48-hour reprieve, according to CITC, should have given the three Saudi carriers and RIM the time to test "proposed solutions" to meet the regulatory requirements. The CITC did not say what these were.

A CITC official said on Sunday the Canadian manufacturer and Saudi mobile companies were testing three servers through which data and communications coming in and out of Saudi Arabia would transit in addition to RIM's servers in Canada.

About four hours before the deadline, CITC Governor Abdularahmane al-Jaafari told Reuters: "We will issue a statement before the deadline.

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BlackBerry Users Guessing in Saudi, Assured in Oman
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