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This article was published on November 13, 2011


Apple’s iMessage and Facetime blocked in the UAE [Updated]

Apple’s iMessage and Facetime blocked in the UAE [Updated]


Nancy Messieh
Story by

Nancy Messieh

Lesotho-born and raised, Nancy Messieh, The Next Web's Middle East Editor, is an Egyptian writer and photographer based in Cairo, Egypt. Fol Lesotho-born and raised, Nancy Messieh, The Next Web's Middle East Editor, is an Egyptian writer and photographer based in Cairo, Egypt. Follow her on Twitter, her site or Google+ or get in touch at [email protected]

The UAE is certainly no stranger to blocking mobile services, as RIM will probably attest to.

The company has had to deal not only with monitoring issues, but also with a ban on Blackberry services in the UAE, a decision which has since been overturned. In fact, Blackberry services has been embraced by the authorities, and are even used in an official capacity, albeit in a limited manner, by the Dubai police.

The UAE is now turning its attention to Apple’s iMessage service as well as Facetime, with Mobile carriers Etisalat, followed by Du, suspending the Apple services.

Etisalat made an announcement via twitter, claiming that Facetime had been disabled by Apple, but that iMessage is “under investigation” by the UAE’s Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA).

While Etisalat gave no time frame on the investigation, mobile carrier Du tweeted that the service would resume this evening.

The TRA told UAE based publication, The National, a slightly different story, stating that there was “no intention to block iMessage,” adding that he was checking with telecom operators on why Apple services have been blocked.

Dubai-based journalist Tom Gara tweeted that the ban was affecting far more than just iMessage, saying that all Apple push notifications had been suspended.

The National also reported that while the ban is in effect, some users have been able to successfully use Apple’s iMessage service.

Update: Etisalat has sent out a similar Tweet as Du, stating that iMessage service will resume tonight, with some tweets stating that the service has already been restored on Du.