Sunday, August 1, 2010

UAE regulator to ban BlackBerry from October

The UAE’s telecoms regulator has announced that BlackBerry services in the country will be suspended from 11 October this year.
The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) said that the suspension was due to the failure of ongoing attempts since 2007 to bring BlackBerry services in the country in line with local regulations.
"With no solution available and in the public interest, in order to affect resolution of this issue, as of October 11, 2010, Blackberry Messenger, Blackberry Email and Blackberry Web-browsing services will be suspended until an acceptable solution can be developed and applied," said TRA director general Mohamed Al Ghanim.
"The TRA notes that Blackberry appears to be compliant in similar regulatory environments of other countries, which makes non-compliance in the UAE both disappointing and of great concern."
Telcos Etisalat and du were informed of the TRA’s decision on Sunday. They were also instructed to ensure minimal consumer disruption in the provision of alternative services.
In a statement, the UAE’s biggest telecoms provider, Etisalat, said that it “fully understands the legal and social considerations behind the decision."
The operator also announced that it “will soon be announcing a range of alternative mobility products and services for its BlackBerry products” without providing any further detail.
“All Blackberry services fall within the UAE regulatory framework developed by the TRA since 2007, however because of Blackberry's technical configuration, some Blackberry services operate beyond the enforcement of these regulations,” said a statement issued by the TRA.
“Blackberry data is immediately exported off-shore, where it is managed by a foreign, commercial organization. Blackberry data services are currently the only data services operating in the UAE where this is the case.
“Today's decision is based on the fact that, in their current form, certain Blackberry services allow users to act without any legal accountability, causing judicial, social and national security concerns for the UAE.”