BlackBerry services will be suspended in October in the UAE

BlackBerry Bold 9000 Unlocked Phone with 2 MP Camera, 3G, Wi-Fi, GPS, and MicroSD Slot--International Version with Warranty (Black) 
We bring concerning news for travellers that the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) has officially stated that BlackBerry Messenger, BlackBerry E-mail and BlackBerry Web-browsing services in the UAE will be suspended as from October 11, 2010.

The TSA claim that the suspension is a result of the failure of ongoing attempts, (which pre-date 2007), to bring BlackBerry services in the UAE in line with UAE telecommunications regulations.

Clearly this suspension is set to have a significant impact on residents and visitors alike, as there are an estimated 500,000 BlackBerry users in the UAE (mostly in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

Technically speaking the rationale behind the suspension is that the TRA believes certain BlackBerry services enable users to act without any legal accountability, causing judicial, social and national security concerns for the UAE. In essence BlackBerry data is immediately exported off-shore, where it is managed by a foreign, commercial organization. TRA also claim that it's a final decision, although dialogue with BlackBerry continues.

Both telecommunications operators in the U.A.E. being Etisalat and du were both officially informed of the decision.

Officials at BlackBerry's manufacturer "Research In Motion" in Canada have been cautious not to comment.

Clearly the U.A.E. is tightening security due to recent events and in some respects its understandable, however this will concern many foreign residents and visitors alike, as its another perceived freedom will be taken away, such as the blocking of certain Internet sites. In a country which featured headline news last week like "Tourist arrested for stripping down to bikini" and the ongoing case of a British couple facing a Prison sentence for kissing in public, one wonders what is next?

We can also report that Saudi Arabia has quickly moved to follow suit. Bahrain and Indonesia were quick to state that they will not follow the UAE, so perhaps the Domino effect in the Gulf will not occur after all.

Question is how much will Tourism and Business be impacted in Dubai and Abu Dhabi? PT will keep an eye on this one, because we feel there are more developments to come. One thing is for certain, BlackBerry might be more secure than we thought, which may paradoxically make it even more attractive to Business users.