Nayef Almansi, a Saudi lawyer, has started an online campaign to demand that Mobily activate the FaceTime service in Saudi Arabia. Mr. Almansi is asking Mobily iPhone 4 owners to participate.
It should be noted that FaceTime has been disabled in iPhone 4 units running iOS 4.1 with the following model numbers: MC605AE and MC603AE (same model number in UAE by Du and Etisalat as well as in Qatar with Vodafone). As far as we know carrier settings cannot disable FaceTime, imported iPhone 4 units still have FaceTime enabled.
Mobily has blamed Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC) for banning FaceTime, however in the UAE carriers claim that Apple banned it.
My personal opinion: Apple disabled FaceTime for one of two reasons: they saw the mess with the Blackberry Messenger ban in UAE and decided to disable FaceTime to avoid Drama or a regulatory authority in the region asked Apple to disable it.
Demanding that Mobily enables FaceTime service on the iPhone 4:
Mobily recently launched the latest Apple product, the iPhone 4, and started selling it officially in Saudi Arabia. Customers noticed that FaceTime, a feature promoted by Apple and even Mobily’s website, has been deactivated. FaceTime is a video calling service which is a vital feature, socially beneficial and provides a useful service for an important segment of society; people with special needs who use sign language to communicate using the front-facing camera.
Many Mobily customers has complained regarding this weird behavior by Mobily, considering it a form of commercial fraud, where the company may not withhold what they announced on their website.
And because Mobily did not provide an official explanation regarding this issue and because customers want to take full advantage of the iPhone 4 advertised features.
Our office has volunteered to collect the names of all customers affected by the purchase of the iPhone 4 and did not get the FaceTime feature and use all available legal means guaranteed by the state to submit it formally to Mobily to force the company to enable the service or return all units and compensate their customers.
To list your name send a blank email and in the title write your name and ID number. The email is: firstname.lastname@example.org
Arabic version of this post on SaudiMac Arabic Edition.