If you're a smartphone user, chances are you have some kind of messaging app that relies on the Internet, whether it's Whatsapp, Viber, Skype or something else. They're lifesavers for those with no texting plan or a limited number of minutes on their contract. However, smartphone users in Saudi Arabia could be left high and dry as the country is threatening to block such applications.
CNN reports that Saudi Arabia's Communications and Information Technology Commission has said it will block access to the apps above and others like them if the developers of said applications and telecom providers don't comply with Saudi regulations. Though the telecoms regulator didn't offer any details on the regulations being violated, CNN says the statement comes after the CITC asked cell carriers for permission for the government to monitor applications like Viber and Whatsapp. Saudi telecommunications companies were apparently given until Saturday to respond to the request. The threat to block access to these messaging apps was issued on Sunday.
This is not the first time Saudi Arabia has run into issues like this. Back in 2010, Saudi Arabia banned Blackberry devices after RIM failed to meet requirements imposed by the Saudi government. The ban didn't last long, though. Reports emerged roughly a week later that said RIM (which has since rebranded as BlackBerry) had come to an agreement with the Saudi Arabian government.