RIYADH: Saudi Arabia is set to lift a ban on internet voice and video calling applications, including WhatsApp, Skype, and Viber and people will now be able to use these apps in the Kingdom.
The block on the access to the voice call applications will be removed next week (September 20), Abdullah Al Sawaha, minister of communications and information technology, said.
Video and voice calling allows people to call over the internet rather than phone networks, avoiding the expense that can often come with calling outside of the country or for extended times.
The app’s video and voice chat functions, along with similar service imo, were banned in the Kingdom because of “regulations”.
Coordination between the Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC) and the telecom service providers is underway to enable Saudi nationals and expatriates to benefit from applications that provide voice and video calls over the Internet and that will be in compliance with the requirements, Al Sawaha also chairman of the CITC, the Kingdom’s telecom regulator, said.
He added that the service providers have confirmed their commitment to enable all customers to use the applications to make voice and video calls of the highest quality and that they will review all applications in orde to meet the requirements periodically, Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.
“This fruitful cooperation between the Kingdom’s telecom partners comes under the umbrella of ‘Customer First’, a policy in which everyone works in order to give all telecom subscribers in the Kingdom the best services that meet their expectations and satisfy their needs,” Al Sawaha was quoted as saying.
Some ‘secret’ WhatsApp features
WhatsApp has virtually become a necessity for those addicted to smartphones. And this necessity gives no sign of relenting.
We will take a look at some of the least-discussed options in the app.
Enabling new typewriter font
To change the font of your WhatsApp messages, use the ` symbol three times either side of the word. For example, “`Hello“`. The symbol – not to be mistaken with ‘ – is available on the Android keyboard, but isn’t on the standard iOS one. If you’re using an Apple device for WhatsApp you can copy and paste this “` and use it either side of the word.
Send same message to multiple contacts
In the top left of the WhatsApp “Chats” screen there is a little-used feature called “Broadcast Lists”. This lets you send the same message to multiple contacts at once without them knowing, a bit like the “Bcc” button on emails.
Go to Chats -> Broadcast Lists -> New List -> add contacts and write out your message -> hit send. The message and their reply will appear in your private chat with each person, but with a little megaphone icon next to it.
Send a giant heart
A giant, beating red heart will appear on the chat screen if you send it on its own.
How to change font appearance
You can format the text in WhatsApp messages by adding symbols in front of and after words.
1- For bold add asterisks to either side of a word or sentence, e.g. *bold*
2- Italicise a message with underscores, e.g. _italics_
3- To strikethrough text add tildes, e.g. ~strikethrough~
Who you talk to the most?
To find out who your best friends on WhatsApp are, if you have an iOS device, head to Settings -> Account -> Storage Usage. Here you’ll see a list of the people and groups you message on WhatsApp along with the total number of interactions you’ve had with that person/group.
How to avoid group chats
If you have one or two group messages that are constantly abuzz, you can mute the chat for eight hours, a week or a year. Go into the chat, and tap the name of the group -> Mute -> select the amount of time. You can also mute notifications on one-to-one chats.
Dealing with blue-tick ‘headache’
If you want to give yourself time to reply to a message on WhatsApp without the other person seeing the dreaded blue ticks, this trick will help. It lets you read a message without giving the game away.
Way to protect your chat
Stop prying eyes from reading your messages by preventing the first line from appearing on your home screen. Go to Settings -> Notifications -> disable Show Preview.
You can also prevent nosy friends from happening on your chats by adding a password to WhatsApp through a third party app, such as AppLock for Android or iAppLock for iOS.