iOS 11.3 Enables FaceTime On iPhone In Saudi Arabia

Now that iOS 11.3 is finally out for download and installation. But many out there, developers and testers, even general public isn’t talking about iOS 11.3 features, nevertheless, it’s being unbelievably still finding things out about software that has been through a rigorous beta program yet still has plenty of surprises up its sleeve.

One of those is definitely the fact that FaceTime is now been officially enabled for use in Saudi Arabia, after previously not being the case.

This is due to Apple flicking the wanted switch by enabling FaceTime as part of iOS 11.3 release. Of course, the fact that Saudi government lifted a ban on not just FaceTime on iPhone or iPad, but a host of other video and voice calling apps back in September of last year.

Originally, the ban was implemented in 2013 following the government’s wariness of secure and encrypted internet communications. The lifting of that ban will, apparently, help to kick start the local economy which at the time was reeling from low oil prices according to telecoms regulator CITC.

“Digital transformation is one of the key kick-starters for the Saudi economy, as it will incentivise the growth of internet-based businesses, especially in the media and entertainment industries,” a statement from the information ministry said. “Access to VoIP (voice over internet protocol) will reduce operational costs and spur digital entrepreneurship – that’s why it is such an important step in the Kingdom’s internet regulation,”

The main reason iPhones and iPads were not immediately able to make or receive FaceTime calls was because those sold in Saudi Arabia had a feature completely blocked. That means software update was required in order to bring the video calling feature to iOS users in the country.

As of iOS 11.3’s release, that has now happened. It’s not a Skype, or WhatsApp Video calling, but it’s different to experience.

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