BlackBerry Services Now Switched Off in Saudi Arabia

Ignoring RIM CEO Mike Lazardis' threat that this would lead to bigger things, the Saudi Arabian government went ahead and turned off the BlackBerry data services as of about 4am EST today. This has not made citizens happy.

The 700,000 Saudi Arabians relying on their BlackBerrys for messaging have suddenly found their phones are rendered partly-useless—or at least, not doing what it says on the tin. This is unlikely to change, unless RIM bows down to security concerns and houses a data center in the country, instead of storing all data in their Canadian server center.

Had they not switched off the service, RIM would have been fined $1.3m reportedly. The UAE is next to switch off BlackBerry services from October 11th, and Lebanon and India are also said to be close to pressing the banhammer key too. [Bangkok Post]