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iPhone stories (and review) in Saudi Arabia

This is my friend’s “iPhone Story”. Meet Mr. Ahmed Zahlan, he wrote me his Apple Story a few days after he got and -ehm- unlocked his iPhone to work with STC‘s network here in Saudi Arabia. He is also a Windows user but (Apple, are you reading this?) expressed interest in buying an Apple laptop. Feel free to submit your own iPhone stories to username: saudimac on the GMail service, if you know what I mean.

Ahmad’s iPhone Story after the break.

Ok guys, I bought an iPhone recently and found out that this device is full of amazing feature as well as bas ones. I am not gonna talk about the good ones, you may want to discover them by yourself. I will take about the bad ones. Here we go:

  • The device doesn’t support viewing Arabic text. I have tried to search for that in iPhone forums and the best I found is discontinuous letters !!!
  • Public SMS can’t be received. I mean by public SMS like the promotions SMS, Mawjood SMSs, Banks SMS, Aljawal promotions SMS. I have done my homework on this and found out that any character short code can be received. (short code is the sender name)
  • NO MMS (capital NOOOOO), even though MMS is available on GPRS/EDGE !!!!
  • NO 3G (also Capital NOOOOOOOOO)
  • If you stored your contact numbers in the international format (e.g +9665XX XX XXXX) then your iPhone won’t recognize them because the sender number comes from the GSM provider in a local format ( e.g. 05X XX XXXX) and the pop-up screen will be displayed showing a number only. (iPhone support only the American format which is 7 digits only)
  • Again, if you stored your contact numbers in Local format (e.g . 05X XX XXXX) and you receive an SMS, you will not be able to match the the sender number with the contact name in your iPhone. this is because the GSM provider sends the sender number in international format and your address book in local format.. so BOOOOYA !!
  • Forget about any delivery reports about your SMS, voice mail SMS, bills SMS, Mawjood SMS. iPhone doesn’t support these advanced tech !!!!
  • I didn’t find in the iPhone how to set the network services such as call forwarding, call waiting, fax option and voicemail box…
  • No SMS forwarding and no sending SMS to multiple people!!!! which means in special occasions such as Eid or Ramadan, you have to write individual SMS for each one… hahaha
  • No copy paste options !!!! comon apple, what the hell you were thinking when you made this iPhone !!!
  • No Bluetooth file sharing..(I wanna cry) !!
  • You need thick manuals if you want to install a special application especially if you’re newbie in MAC ..

I have been using this iPhone since 4 days only and figured out this much or flaws. I am sure I will find more as time goes by.

About Khaled A.


  1. thanks man!
    a few questions: is your iPhone a 3G or 3GS? Also how do you think the space is working for you? I’m just wondering how much space apps take and whether a 16GB one would be okay because i have like at least 10 GB of just music.

  2. @asna,

    You might want to take the Ipod Touch 2 32Gb instead if you are into music. Mine is 3G 16Gb White and the actual available memory is 14 something GB…the applications from Apple Store are very small but quite expensive unless you want to Jailbreak it and install cracked apps….oops sorry if I mention JB here just want to point out that without JB I think I will never enjoy my Iphone ^_^.

  3. Dear,

    I have 3g S with 16G. Its unlocked and working fine with STC network, Its arabic enabled and i can read and write SMS in arabic, I am getting the offers sms as well , Now my concern is about the MAWJOOD services as I am not underding how to configure or why i m not getting the SMS hile my mobile was switched off. If anyone knows kindly reply. Thanks

    • You need to configure call forwarding manually.
      I think I will make a post about it in the next few hours

    • Dear Baig
      would you be kind enough to share us with the steps for unlocking, i mean i have tried purplesn0w but the network signal is not showing. could you tell me whether u are using a new 3G sim.or is there any other settings i have not changed.


  4. Thanks Khaled,
    I will wait for your post. I have also not try the MMS so if you did any test for MMS i will apprciiate if you also send me settings. Thanks Bye

  5. does the new iphone 3gs support bluetooth file sharing ?

  6. hi all

    can someone tell me where i can buy the apple iphone 3G S in riyad. plesae let me know the shop location and telephone number. do they sell it unlocked or u have to get it unlocked from another shop.

    • Dear Doc,

      Why don’t you go to Mobily or Zain showroom , Mobily is the official and authorized provider of IPHONE and they will provide you with contract and unlocked but if you try to go any showroom you can find the IPHONE 3GS Unlocked.
      I know place but its in Al KHobar , Rashid Mall. You can come here or ask any friend to visit Rashid Mall there are few good mobile showrooms. Thanks

  7. hey guys, it might be too late but you can manually configure call forwarding on iphone:

    To setup “Call forward if busy”, simply dial *67*[another phone number]# and tap “Call”

    To setup “Call forward if not answered”, simply dial *61*[another phone number]# and tap “Call”

    To setup “Call forward if unreachable”, simply dial *62*[another phone number]# and tap “Call”

    Deactivate Call Forwarding
    To deactivate “Call forward if busy”, simply dial #67# and tap “Call”

    To deactivate “Call forward if not answered”, simply dial #61# and tap “Call”

    To deactivate “Call forward if not reachable”, simply dial #62# and tap “Call”

  8. can someone tell me where to buy iphone 3g or 3gs here in khobar? im new here guys. please help me. how much is it? and will it work in the philippines? why does it have to have a contract? do i need to pay every month just to use iphone? thanks

  9. Hello Khalid,

    I have to say Good Job. I mean I moved out here in June and have been trying to get my hands on an Iphone since then. Major of my research on where and how has been based on your comments. having said that, I think I am done waiting around for Mobily to Restock. I mean, its not like I can pounce on them for a half day window of stock availability. Anyway My Question is what do you think of getting the 3GS from DU or Etisalat and have it shipped? Ia m talking about prepaid 16 Gigs. I ll probably miss out on the warranty and the DATA package that Mobily gives I guess. Price is almost the same (Cheaper in DXB), but I need to be sure its unlocked. Do you think It is unlocked the ones they sell in UAE? Please let me know. Thanks in Advance!!

  10. hi all and especially to Khalid for prompt answers to the threads

    Question: i have been hesitating to buy iPhone 3GS because:-
    1.i dont understand mobily’s 6 month pre-paid offer (commitment) what happens after 6 months? does mobile allow me to use any other sim on it 3 GS, like does it get unlocked? by itself or i have to go to mobily?

    2.suppose i buy the 3GS and want to get it unlocked , how much will it cost in Riyad?

    3.Suppose i try to jail break it by myself, is it hard to get the the software after googling?


  11. OMG Khaled.. you still have that post LOOL.. I wrote this when I first got my iPhone 2G from America (Thanks to you :D). All these info were related to the first edition of iPhone.

    P:S: I still have it and it’s working beautifully!
    P.S2: I have divorced windows long time back and I’m a loyal Apple user.

    love ya apple!!

  12. Hi guys. My iphone was working well for a long while now. It started a few days ago to have only lights. I mean the screen is white. I can still receive calls through it but I can’t see who is calling. Ofcourse I can’t use it to call anyone. I tried to reset, empty its charge or even fully charge it, but still its the same white screen. Any ideas how to solve it by self? Anyone knows where to have in fixed in Riyadh? Thanks

  13. maybe its because of the ‘unlocked’ version….??


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