We recently reported that Apple’s Facetime didn’t appear to be available in Saudi Arabia, and all mention had been removed from their website. Now we have confirmation the service is not available in the Middle East (except Armenia and Israel, interestingly enough)
Originally reported by SoudiMac, it appears Apple’s FaceTime is indeed unavailable in the region, no matter which of its 5 carriers you use.
The info comes courtesy of an Apple Support Article (number HT1937 in fact) listing all the carriers offering the iPhone throughout the world.
As you can see from the image above, all five carriers covering Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and UAE have a note attached: FaceTime is not available on this carrier.
Two questions do spring to mind here. Firstly, why block it? The data goes over WiFi anyway so the carrier itself doesn’t experience any higher data usage as a result of FaceTime being allowed. Perhaps the carriers aren’t the ones behind this?
Secondly, how are they doing it? I doubt there has been a hardware modification added to iPhones sold in the area, so software seems to be the best bet. Perhaps a carrier update via iTunes at initial setup? If that is indeed the case, expect to see jailbreaking becoming popular very soon in the middle eastern countries.