Apple’s audio and video calling service FaceTime is now available in Saudi Arabia after the company released its latest iOS update, 11.3.
Audio and video calling on apps like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and many others were banned by in Saudi for years until the government lifted the ban in September last year.
As soon as the ban was lifted, people were able to make calls using most of the apps. However, with FaceTime, it was different. As Apple explains on its website, “FaceTime isn’t available or might not appear on devices purchased or used in Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and Pakistan.”
But with the iOS 11.3, that is changing, at least in Saudi, “However, with iOS 11.3, FaceTime is available on iPhone in Saudi Arabia,” Apple notes on its website.
Some retailers in Saudi used to charge a higher price for iPhone with FaceTime in Saudi. It didn’t work in Saudi but many users wanted to have the option anyway esp. the frequent travelers. After this update, it seems that those retailers won’t be able to charge that premium anymore.
People in Saudi have welcomed the news on Twitter.
Finally: Saudi Arabia lifts the ban on Apple’s FaceTime service — Ahmed Al Omran (@ahmed) March 29, 2018https://twitter.com/Faisal/status/979441889031151616
مهم جدا .. لا تخلي أحد يستغلك من الان وصاعدا بسعر اغلى لايفون يحمل خدمة فيس تايم لان #ابل_تتيح_فيستايم على جميع الايفونات في المملكة عن طريق تحديثك للجهاز ان لم تتوفر عليه الخدمه — فيصل السيف (@falsaif) March 29, 2018
رسميا .. ابل تعلن اتاحة تطبيق فيس تايم FaceTime للمكالمات على جميع اجهزة ابل في السعودية. خبر ممتاز 👍🏼#السعودية — Kais Al Essa قيس العيسى (@kaisalessa) March 29, 2018
بعد التحديث وصلني هذا التنبيه ونزل برنامج فيس تايم pic.twitter.com/FSt3ZnVF8N — سلطان الفردان (@SultanAlFardan) March 29, 2018
It’s a big deal as over 27% of the smartphone users in the country own an iPhone and all of them will now have access to Apple’s native audio and video calling service to make calls using the internet.