Oman says no plans to ban BlackBerry services

MUSCAT (Reuters) - Oman has no plans to block BlackBerry services, the small Gulf state said on Monday, as regional heavyweight Saudi Arabia worked with the device’s maker on a solution that could avert a ban of some services.

Offering the services was part of its “philosophy of free market in the sector,” Oman’s Telecommunications Regulatory Authority said in a statement reported by state news agency ONA.

BlackBerry maker Research In Motion and Saudi mobile firms were testing three servers to send communications and data through Saudi Arabia before Canada to address Riyadh’s concerns over security, a Saudi official said on Sunday.

The Saudi regulator has given the three firms until Monday before it proceeds with a threat to cut the BlackBerry’s Messenger function for some 700,000 users in the kingdom, delaying a ban which was meant to take effect on Friday.

The Canadian manufacturer has come under scrutiny from other countries as well, including India, Lebanon and Algeria, regarding access to its encrypted network which governments want monitored to avert possible threats to national security.

Kuwait has no intention of stopping BlackBerry services for the time being but is talking to the device’s manufacturer about moral and security concerns, Communications Minister Mohammad al-Busairi said.

Reporting by Firouz Sedarat in Dubai; Editing by Jason Neely