Skype, WhatsApp, Snapchat, and similar voice calling services should be unblocked in Saudi Arabia again. According to a statement from Saudi Arabia’s telecommunications authority
Any voice and video apps that meet the rules will be allowed.
Leap Ventures partner Hala Fadel wrote last year that it was a prime time for Middle East nations to start investing in digital startups:
“With 70% of the population under age 30, the Arabs are a hyper social and hyper digital population.”
Saudi Arabia’s information ministry seems to agree with Fadel, saying that a digital transformation will boost the nation’s economy.
“Digital transformation is one of the key kick-starters for the Saudi economy, as it will incentivize the growth of internet-based businesses, especially in the media and entertainment industries,”
the ministry said in a statement today.
As Skype, WhatsApp, and others voip applications are available in KSA again, the country’s three domestic telecoms operators — Saudi Telecom Co, Etihad Etisalat, and Zain Saudi — will face more competition and lose their current oligopoly on calling services. But tight regulations over the internet still continue, with restrictions on access to extremist, pornographic, or gambling-related websites.