BlackBerry services restored in Saudi despite ban: users

BlackBerry's messaging services were restored in Saudi Arabia on Friday after a four-hour break, despite a ban expected to take effect the same day over security concerns, users said.

Many users reported that the services were interrupted at around 0930 GMT, but four hours later they went back online.

The telecoms regulators in the highly security-conscious Gulf state with a rigid Islamic social code were unable for comment on Friday, the Muslim weekend.

But employees of mobile phone providers STC and Mobily, asking not to be named, told AFP their companies had not been officially notified of a ban or of its timing.

The Saudi telecommunications authority announced on Tuesday that it ordered the country's three providers to block key BlackBerry services or face a 1.3-million-dollar fine as of August 6.

But a time was not specified.

The regulator said "the way BlackBerry services are provided currently does not meet the regulatory criteria of the commission and the licensing conditions," in a statement carried by Saudi Arabia's official news agency SPA.