CITC to lift ban on OTT VoIP by 20 September

14 Sep 2017

Abdullah Al-Sawah, Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Communications and IT, has announced that the ban on over-the-top (OTT) VoIP calls will be lifted in Saudi Arabia within a week, the Saudi Press Agency reports. The minister was cited as saying in a social media post: ‘In cooperation with our telecom partners and in line with our “Customer First” policy, we have called for the lifting of call blocking within a week … CITC [Communications and IT Commission] will oversee the review of regulatory compliance requirements and will work with telecommunications companies to enable the lifting, in compliance with requirements.’ Al Sawah added that the authority and telecom services providers were coordinating to unblock VoIP service to their customers, to make use of the applications that support voice and video calls, such as WhatsApp, Viber and Skype.

According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, in March 2013 the CITC threatened to ban OTT VoIP services unless telecoms operators were willing to provide a monitoring service by the end of the month. The regulator followed through with its ultimatum, and in June 2013 banned communication application Viber due to unspecified ‘violations of the Kingdom’s regulatory requirements’.