Complex Made Simple

Saudi lifts VoIP ban in step towards Vision 2030

Several media outlets announced Wednesday that Saudi Arabia has lifted the ban on internet phone calls and other VoIP services.

The Independent daily quoted Adel Abu Hameed, spokesman for the Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC), the telecoms regulator, saying in a tweet on Wednesday that all online voice and video call services, such as Microsoft’s Skype and Facebook’s Whatsapp, that satisfy regulatory requirements will become accessible at midnight Saudi local time on Wednesday.

Also, one week ago, Abdullah Al-Sawahah, Minister of Communications and Information Technology and Chairman of the CITC, has given directives to lift the ban on VoIP applications that meet the regulatory requirements and make this available for all users in the Kingdom as of Wednesday, September 20, 2017.

However, in an independent telephone survey, residents in Saudi Arabia told AMEinfo they were as of yet unable to use these apps on Wednesday.

Open lines

A statement released on the website of the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) said that the CITC and the Kingdom’s telecom operators are cooperating to enable customers, whether citizens or residents, to benefit from the applications that provide voice and video communications over the Internet (VoIP apps).

“This step will be followed by several initiatives that MCIT and CITC are developing in partnership with the telecom operators to improve the sector and the customer experience, while developing a digital society in line with the objectives of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030,” said the statement.

Saudi Arabia has recently undertaken major steps toward opening up its society, including allowing foreign investors to take 100 per cent ownership of companies and directing organisations to provide transportation for female employees, as women are not permitted to drive in the country.