Saudi Arabia set to lift ban on Skype and WhatsApp calls, but will monitor and censor calls

- Saudi Arabia set to lift ban on Skype and WhatsApp calls, but will monitor and censor calls.

- Analysts warn that this move may affect the revenues generated from international calls by Saudi's three main Telecom giants.
Saudi Arabia has agreed to remove the ban on internet based calls made using apps such as WhatsApp, Skype and Viber on the condition
that these app providers will adhere to its monitoring and censorship rules.

Adel Abu Hameed, spokesman for telecoms regulator CITC, said on Arabiya TV on Wednesday that new regulations were aimed mainly at protecting users’ personal information and blocking content that violated the kingdom’s laws.

Asked if the apps could be monitored by the authorities or companies, he said: “Under no circumstances can the user use an application for video or voice calling without monitoring and censorship by the Communications and Information Technology Commission, whether the application is global or local.”

Lifting the ban represents part of the Saudi government’s broad reforms to diversify the economy partly in response to low oil prices, which have hit the country’s finances.

Analysts have expressed concerns that this move by the Saudi government may adversely affect the revenues of the three main Telecom operators in the country who currently generate a lot from international calls from expatriates living in Saudi Arabia.

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