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Egypt considers banning Viber, WhatsApp

Egypt's telecommunication regulating body is considering barring these mobile applications for their impact on investments and security

Ahram Online, Saturday 8 Jun 2013
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Egypt plans to block widely-used applications Viber and WhatsApp on economic and security concerns, a state telecommunication senior official tells Ahram Online on Saturday.

Head of the National Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (NTRA) Amr Badawy said a committee has been formed to monitor those mobile applications and will decide whether to ban, allow free usage or restrict them somehow.

"These applications allow subscribers to make free calls, messages and share files while their sources remain unknown. Pre-paid applications will face losses," Badawy explained.

WhatsApp is a very popular app that allows for free chatting, while Viber allows for free international phone calls. Viber, one of the top cell phone apps, was developed by an Israeli company.

Recently Saudi Arabia's telecom regulator banned the web-based communication application, saying it is difficult 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," a statement reads on the Saudi Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC) website.

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