Saudi Arabian users of voice-over-internet protocol (VoIP) communication application Viber have revealed that the service is currently available, despite the country’s telecoms regulator, the Communication and Information Technology Commission (CITC), maintaining that access to the application is still banned. Al Arabiya News reports that numerous users have stated that they have been able to access Viber on their smartphones since 15 December 2013, after a network update. CITC spokesman Sultan al-Malek addressed the issue by saying: ‘The CITC has not lifted the ban as the company has not complied with the requirements of the commission. There may be some illegal way of providing the application by Viber, to get round the ban, but the commission is dealing with that.’
As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, in June 2013 the CITC restricted access to Viber due to unspecified violations of the Kingdom’s rigorous regulatory requirements. The Commission pledged that it ‘would take appropriate action against any other applications or services in the event of failure to comply with regulatory requirements and regulations in force in the Kingdom’.