x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 January 2018

Etisalat and du pull plug on new BlackBerry service

UAE telecoms operators have abruptly pulled the plug on BlackBerry’s newly launched BBM Channels social media service, only two weeks after its launch.

BBM Channels service, an extension of the Canadian company’s popular service, was launched globally late last month. Lefteris Pitarakis / AP Photo
BBM Channels service, an extension of the Canadian company’s popular service, was launched globally late last month. Lefteris Pitarakis / AP Photo

UAE telecoms operators have abruptly pulled the plug on BlackBerry’s newly launched BBM Channels social media service, only two weeks after its launch.

The mobile operator du said yesterday the service was no longer available, in response to guidelines from the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA).

“In accordance with the internet management policy issued by the TRA to regulate internet content that is not in line with moral, social and cultural values that the UAE stands for, the BBM Channel application is unavailable to du customers until further notice,” the company said yesterday. “We count on the support and understanding of our customers in this regard.”

Etisalat yesterday said on its Twitter feed that the service was not supported by the operator, eight days after insisting it was.

BBM Channels service, an extension of the Canadian company’s popular service, was launched globally late last month.

The service – supplied on BlackBerry 10 and BlackBerry OS devices – enables BlackBerry users, be they companies or individuals, to create channels linked to their profiles, that other users can subscribe to for updates.

“I updated the BlackBerry software on my phone and the service worked fine, and there was quickly quite a lot of local Arabic content generated,” said Sameh Ahmed, a Dubai-based pharmaceuticals manager. “Then all of a sudden it stopped working.”

The TRA declined to comment on the issue.

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