Saudi Telecom confirms Blackberry Messenger ban-TV

RIYADH, Aug 1 (Reuters) - State-controlled Saudi Telecom (STC) 7010.SE confirmed the kingdom's regulator had imposed a ban on Blackberry Messenger services, according to a board member speaking on Al Arabiya television.

The move comes after the United Arab Emirates said it will suspend Blackberry Messenger, email and web browser services on October 11, citing security concerns about encrypted data it cannot monitor. [ID:nLDE67001J]

“UAE took a bolder step than Saudi Arabia whereas Saudi Arabia is only banning one, the Messenger,” said board member Abdulrahman Mazi, speaking on the Arabic language channel.

“I hope this is only a kind of pressure on (Blackberry maker) Research In Motion to take steps to provide information when needed.”

Earlier on Sunday, sources told Reuters the regulator had ordered the freeze effective in August. [ID:nLDE67007P]

Saudi Telecom has about 400,000 Blackberry users in the kingdom. Rival Mobily 7020.SE has 270,000 while Zain Saudi Arabia 7030.SE has about 20,000 users.

Writing by Amran Abocar; Editing by Jason Neely