[bloomberg] Research In Motion Ltd., maker of the BlackBerry smartphone, risks losing out on expansion in Saudi Arabia after the Arab world’s largest economy ordered a service suspension this week.
“The company is in a pretty tricky position now,” said Matthew Reed, a senior analyst for the Middle East and Africa at U.K. business data provider and publisher Informa Plc. “Part of the BlackBerry’s appeal is that it offers high levels of security and that same factor is what’s getting it blocked.”
Saudi Arabia ordered phone companies operating in the kingdom to suspend BlackBerry services starting Aug. 6. The move follows a decision this week by the United Arab Emirates, home to Middle East business hub Dubai, to shut BlackBerry data and messaging functions the government can’t monitor.
BlackBerry’s service doesn’t meet regulatory requirements, Saudi Arabia’s Communications and Information Technology Commission said in a statement via the state-run Saudi Press Agency yesterday. It didn’t specify the requirements or say which services will be blocked. BlackBerrys let users send e- mail, browse the Internet and make phone calls. Al-Arabiya television reported today that only the messenger service will be suspended.
RIM didn’t have an immediate comment on the Saudi Arabian decision when contacted by Bloomberg today. Waterloo, Ontario- based RIM said yesterday it “cooperates with all governments with a consistent standard and the same degree of respect.”
Saudi BlackBerry Suspension Cuts Service in Biggest Arab Market