Riyadh: Government of Saudi Arabia removed the block on calling facilities of apps such as WhatsApp, Skype. With this move, Kingdom’s telecom department made the country more attractive for business opportunities.
According to the news published in New Indian Express, although, the ban on the calling facilities of apps is lifted, it will be closely monitored and censored to block content which violates the law of the Kingdom. However, it is not clear how the apps would be monitored.
It may be noted that during Arab Spring in the West Asian region in 2011, Kingdom blocked the calling apps in 2013.
It is also reported that around 4,100,000 Indians are currently working in Saudi Arabia and most of whom are domestic workers and labourers. As these workers cannot take their families along with them to Saudi Arabia, they have to spend a lot of money to keep in touch with their families. Therefore, the lifting of the ban on internet calling would benefit them.
This decision of Saudi Arabia would have a negative impact on telecom operators. However, it would open new opportunities for investments in the digital space.
According to the statement issued by the Information Ministry, “Digital transformation is one of the key kick-starters for the Saudi economy, as it will incentivise the growth of internet-based businesses, especially in the media and entertainment industries”.
It may be mentioned that the number of smartphone users in Kingdom is globally among the highest. It has one the largest per-capita rates of social media use in the world.