By Arab News
By Rashid Hassan
Saudi smartphone users were calling out with joy this week after the government lifted a ban on apps that allow video and voice services.
Minister of Communications and Information Technology Abdullah Al-Swaha earlier this month issued a directive to unblock calling apps that have met regulatory requirements, with users able to access them from Wednesday.
The move will make the likes of FaceTime, Snapchat, Skype, Line, Telegram and Tango available to smartphone users across the Kingdom.
Mohammed Ali, a Sri Lankan national who works in Saudi Arabia as a senior accountant, said he was happy about the move.
“I tried the apps Line and YeeCall, and was able to talk to my relatives back home,” he told Arab News.
“Many of us were spending a lot on calls in order to speak to relatives and friends.”
Iffat Aabroo, another Riyadh resident, said: “WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger calling was unblocked too as I made calls using both the online apps on Thursday … the voice quality is also better.”
Zafar Hasan, a software engineer working in Saudi Arabia, told Arab News that he made calls using Imo, Skype and Tango. But despite repeated attempts, Viber appeared to remain blocked in the Kingdom, he added.
According to ministry sources, online calls will be monitored following the lifting of the ban.