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TRA Announces the Suspension of Blackberry Messenger, Blackberry E-mail and Blackberry Web-Browsing Services in the UAE from October 11, 2010

August 01, 2010

The TRA confirmed today that Blackberry Messenger, Blackberry E-mail and Blackberry Web-browsing services in the UAE will be suspended as of October 11th 2010. The suspension is a result of the failure of ongoing attempts, dating back to 2007, to bring Blackberry services in the UAE in line with UAE telecommunications regulations.

Both telecommunications operators – Etisalat and du – were informed of the decision earlier today. The notification was delivered with an instruction to ensure minimal consumer disruption in the provision of alternative services.

All Blackberry services fall within the UAE regulatory framework developed by the TRA since 2007, however because of Blackberry’s technical configuration, some Blackberry services operate beyond the enforcement these regulations.

Blackberry data is immediately exported off-shore, where it is managed by a foreign, commercial organization. Blackberry data services are currently the only data services operating in the UAE where this is the case.

Today’s decision is based on the fact that, in their current form, certain Blackberry services allow users to act without any legal accountability, causing judicial, social and national security concerns for the UAE. 

Commenting on the announcement TRA Director General Mohamed Al Ghanim said: “With no solution available and in the public interest, in order to affect resolution of this issue, as of October 11, 2010, Blackberry Messenger, Blackberry Email and Blackberry Web-browsing services will be suspended until an acceptable solution can be developed and applied.”

“We informed both Etisalat and du that providing the option of alternative services to ensure the continuity of service from October 11 to its subscribers – both individuals and organisations - is the most important priority.” Al Ghanim added.

Said Al Ghanim, “The TRA notes that Blackberry appears to be compliant in similar regulatory
environments of other countries, which makes non-compliance in the UAE both disappointing and of great concern.”