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Apple Confirms: No FaceTime In Middle East. Why?

A few weeks ago we reported that Apple removed every FaceTime mention and graphics from its Saudi Arabia website. It could have been a cosmetic tweak, website refresh - or it could have been the sign that Apple was having difficulties with FaceTime and Middle Eastern carriers.

With a support document available here (as noticed by SaudiMac), Apple just confirmed that the Middle East won't get the magical FaceTime.

The carriers with a "4" footnote are the ones on which FaceTime is not "available". It appears that Israel and Armenia are the only countries where Apple's video calling technology won't be blocked. If you take a look at the Africa section, FaceTime is blocked in Egypt as well.

How does this block work, anyway? SaudiMac suggests you import an iPhone 4: is it a hardware thing? Or a software modification? Because the latter would lead to an explosion of jailbreaks in the Middle East, I believe. But my question is: how is FaceTime supposed to be a problem for carriers if it doesn't work in 3G? This whole story is weird.

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