RIYADH - Saudi Arabia's telecom regulator has banned use of the web-based communication application Viber, which is hard for the state to monitor and deprives licensed telecom companies of revenue from international calls and texts.
"The Viber application has been suspended ... and the (regulator) affirms it will take appropriate action against any other applications or services if they fail to comply with regulatory requirements and rules in force in the kingdom," the Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC) said in a statement on its website.
Viber allows subscribers to make free calls, send instant messages and share files over the internet. CITC did not explain what regulatory requirements and rules it breached, but the kingdom appears to be pushing for greater control over cyberspace as Internet and smart phone usage soars.
Attempts to use Viber on two different smartphones and to download it onto a computer in Saudi Arabia failed to work on Wednesday. A message on the Viber website explained the service had been banned in Saudi Arabia.