Is UAE Toying With iMessage and FaceTime?
FaceTime and iMessage are Apple's premier Wi-Fi communication services for iOS.
Apple has taken steps to allow users to circumvent the need for a cellular carrier to communicate. They have revolutionized the way that our iPhone's and iPods have been able to help us communicate while connected to a Wi-Fi network and they have enabled us to even video chat with other computers via FaceTime. If you sport an iPod touch or Wi-Fi only iPad, you will not be disappointed by iMessage. It lets you basically text message any iOS device that can run iOS 5. Considering how quickly iOS users are updating to iOS 5, that's a very large database of users that you can message. The best part? It works over Wi-Fi so there are no fees for using it. The same applies to FaceTime, except you can be running iOS 4 to use it. The only downside is that you are limited to devices with front-facing cameras, or Mac users. But again, it works over Wi-Fi just like iMessage and has no fees for using it. There are jailbreak tweaks that allow you to use FaceTime over 3G or Edge connections, one being FaceBreak which is one of my favorite tweaks. But that will count against your data usage and will cost you some money.
Since Apple has brought these popular communication systems to the iDevice lineup, completely circumventing the need to rely on cellular service companies, the UAE (United Arab Emirates) is taking notice. The UAE has blocked mobile services in the past. RIM had this confrontation before with the UAE. This has since been undone for authorities in the UAE. Etisalat
is one of the companies that operates for the UAE, handling phone traffic. They announced that FaceTime and iMessage were under investigation via a tweet on Twitter
. How strange though. Six hours later, Du
, another phone traffic company for the UAE, announced that FaceTime and iMessage would be up and running again by this evening via a tweet on Twitter
. Later on, Etisalat annouced a similar message as Du on Twitter that the services would be up again later on.
It seems hectic that they are messing around with these services. Here are many people trying to communicate and there are several companies playing around with the services like switches on a toy Hess truck. It makes no sense at all that they said they were banning it, then let it go off the hook in the end. It has been reported that users were still able to use iMessage when the ban was in existence but there was no word on the availability of the FaceTime service. I for one would be pretty annoyed after buying a product to later hear that its services would be banned in my country.
What do you think about this inconvenience to UAE iOS users? Share in the comments below!