We had reported yesterday about the BlackBerry ban to come into affect in the UAE this October. Today Saudi Arabia has officially banned the Research in Motion’s BlackBerry devices on grounds of national security. The ban is said to go into effect on August 6th. The government did provide the local wireless companies some tiem to get in compliance with its regulatory authority after which the ban has been called.
The three major local carriers – STC, Mobily and Zain were informed by the Saudi Communications and Information Technology Commission that they would have to terminate BlackBerry service on and after August 6th.
The Saudi government was quick to blame the ban on RIM and its growing concern of secure messaging which allowed no access to the governments. UAE has already threatened blockade of the BlackBerry services. How RIM will deal with the latest Saudi announcement is yet to be known.
UAE has an estimated 500,000 BlackBerry devices in use while Saudi Arabia has another 750,000 BlackBerry devices active. There are other rumors that India is also putting heavy pressure on RIM and for the same reasons. There are about 1.5 Million Blackberry users in India and a potential market of a billion people – a market RIM would hate to give up for Apple, Android or Microsoft.
RIM complies with the US government however fails to do so with other governments. Why the double standard is not known however RIM will feel the effects of this ban and others that are yet to come.