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Tue 3 Aug 2010 06:13 AM

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BlackBerry ban applies to UAE visitors too - TRA

Regulator says Oct suspension of services will affect business visitors, tourists.

BlackBerry ban applies to UAE visitors too - TRA
BAN LOOMS: A Blackberry fan in a shop in Dubai. (Getty Images)

The UAE's telecom regulator has said its suspension of BlackBerry e-mail, messaging and web browsing services will also apply to foreign business and tourism visitors too.

The Telecommunication Regulatory Authority (TRA) confirmed in a statement that the ban on those BlackBerry services planned to take effect on October 11 will be suspended for visitors using roaming services on foreign smart phones, news agency WAM reported.

That would put BlackBerry service out of reach for business travellers and others passing through the Mideast's busiest airport in Dubai, which averages about 100,000 passengers a day.

The suspension of the services will remain effective until Blackberry services become fully compliant with the UAE's regulatory requirements, TRA added.

The regulator has urged Blackberry subscribers to visit the offices of Etisalat and du to receive updates on the substitute services.

On Sunday, the TRA announced that Blackberry Messenger, Blackberry Email and Blackberry web-browsing services will be suspended from October 11 this year.

Also on Sunday, electronics retailers in the UAE were told to stop activating new BlackBerry subscriptions following the TRA’s announcement.

UAE operators Etisalat and du issued statements confirming that they were looking to deliver alternative solutions to BlackBerry customers who face being unable to use services providing email, web browsing, instant messaging and social networking.

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Neil 9 years ago

Qatar must be seeing this all as a great opportunity to better position themselves as a real alternative to Dubai as the centre of commerce and finance. I think the consequential impact to Dubai, if it continues, may be more significant and detrimental to the UAE than anyone currently realises with a further shift in the focus and momentum away from UAE to Qatar.

arw 9 years ago

with all these new laws and regulations forced on businesses at a moments notice, I feel the UAE is heading in the wrong direction to attract and more importantly retain businesses, we are currently looking at options to re-locate due to increased fees, overnight policy enforcements, and the general hassle of trying to run a business here, singapore or kuala Lumpur are looking very attractive right now and before anyone offers me the advice that if i don't like it i should leave.. well thanks but we are quite capable of making that decision, and its looking more likely that we will

mohammed 9 years ago

I am spanish and this BB thing in UAE and KSA has been all over the news there... Newspapers there say that the ban is not driven by security reasons but by the ambition of GCC conservative governments to control and censor information They also think that it's going to be terrible for business and tourism... Although we may see the government making up their mind like Qatar did when they announced they would ask US and european visitors to get a entry visa in advance...

V Izzeta 9 years ago

The guy in the pic doesn't look like a UAE visitor...

Mike 9 years ago

yeah I agree, Singapore and Malaysia have better opportunity with less restriction.

Ex-Expat 9 years ago

The international business community will spread the news: You are not allowed to use BB in Dubai: EVEN WHILE TRAVELLING TRANSIT! Why should somebody travelling from Frankfurt to South East Asia go through Dubai? Take Cathay, Singapore Airlines or other advanced carriers. If the guys at EK could speak openly on this matter.... Like other recent narrow minded decisions this will hurt so bad: More people will leave, less people will come, less people will even travel through Dubai and the bad news will spread faster and wider. Glad I left because the place is going down at rapid speed. Glad for myself, sorry for the people who still hang in there.

Henry Donat 9 years ago

So all the expats will leave because they can't use some of the Blackberry services? Great news, probably I can get a job in Dubai now - and I don't care if I have to use a 20 year old Nokia! If I want email, I got a netbook. Blackberry users still get to make and receive phone calls, use the appointments and diary / tasks apps, GPS, almost everything. Where I come from, the reaction of Ex-Expat is called'spitting the dummy' and 'throwing all your toys out of the pram'. Childish, in other words. Go home, and take as many other spoiled brats with you, I am sure there are plenty of others like me queuing up to take your places. You want a tough life? Come to Riyadh. Not using all the Blackberry apps is a very small proce to pay to live and work in UAE, so smarten up / harden up, baby!

Dennis Healey 9 years ago

I can't believe all these complaints about the Blackberry services. So what? Dubai is still one of the worlds great cities, and people need to realise it is a privelege to live here, not a right. And I am sure Mr Ex-expat did not leave of his own accord; with that attitude I am sure he would have been asked to go! Yes, go to Singapore and Malaysia if you want - but if you really think they are better than the UAE you are fooling yourselves. Better still, go home, and leave behind the expats who appreciate the lifestyle they can enjoy here, and who can adapt to situations like this. Yes, its not great to lose these BB services, but then I managed OK before I got a Blackberry, and if I can't check my email or browse the net while I am driving on Sheikh Zayed Rd, maybe Dubai will be a safer place!

Martha Paps 9 years ago

"Dubai was supposed to be a dream place. Scratch the glitter and discover the real thing." Hey that's "Brand Dubai" for ya, all PR marketing hype and little substance or logic. They sold the dream, people bought into the dream and now comes the actual reality of trying to... live the dream".

Telco guy 9 years ago

@Denis, @Henry, you guys certainly fail to see the implications of this. First and foremost this is not what you as an individual can do. BBerry is a business tool, the kind of tool used by those companies that, at least in theory, the UAE wants to attract. So lets look at the scenario: Services firm (Consulting, legal, investment) with office in DXB: -CTO: Uh, Mr CEO I have another question. We need $XXX Million to move all our mobile platform to Android/iPhone/... -CEO: What? Why? What is wrong with my blackberry? -CTO: BBerries are banned in DXB. So if we want to provide a company wide platform we can no longer use them. -CEO: Where? In Dubai? (TO CFO: How much money we make there?) -CFO: Just one quarter of what we did 2 years ago -CEO: Let me think... So we need to spend a lot of money and then if we are working for Batelco/Zain/Qtel or any other operator du/Etisalat will be able to see our confidential work? ... Tough one. Close the Dubai office. Move to Doha. If you think the above is far-fetched then good-luck, 2 or 3 years ago Dubai could have been able to pull this trick. Today, I doubt. It will impact not only direct business presence but also the ability of Dubai to attract company events. I know several consulting firms that chose Dubai to hold worldwide partner events. We are talking big money here... do you think they will do that again when these guys will be essentially out of the loop for 3-4 days? Well not in my experience. Same for news related enterprises. You are essentially asking news companies to work on the open, I seriously doubt CNN/BBC will go for that. I amy be wrong, I have no news experience. So good luck finding a job. As somebody else pointed, this is just another nail in Dubai's coffin, not a fatal blow, but just a step in the wrong direction. Waiting for the usual suspects to jump and claim that this is the best place for business (question, how many innovative companies have been started in the region?.