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Saudi Arabia to unblock internet calling apps

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Saudi Arabia will lift its ban on internet calling applications today, easing restrictions online as the conservative kingdom faces new criticism over censorship.

Authorities said Voice and video calling apps such as WhatsApp and Skype will be widely available to users.

A government statement said yesterday. The move is aimed at improving business confidence as the kingdom transitions into a post-oil era, access to VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) will reduce operational costs and spur digital entrepreneurship.

The statement said, citing a directive from the communications and technology ministry that Digital transformation is one of the key kick-starters for the Saudi economy.

The statement also said it will incentivise the growth of internet-based businesses, especially in the media and
entertainment industries.

The announcement comes a day after Al Jazeera lashed out at Snapchat for blocking the Qatari broadcaster from its app in Saudi Arabia at the request of Saudi authorities.

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