The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is to suspend BlackBerry services owing to data security concerns, in what could be a blow to UK firms operating in the region.
The main problem is that the smartphone ecosystem does not comply with local regulations because it sends data outside the country.
The ban is set to take effect from 11 October, and covers BlackBerry Messenger, email and web browsing services, according to the UAE Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA).
The watchdog said that it has been trying to bring BlackBerry services in the UAE in line with local regulations for three years.
Mohammed Al Ghanem, director general of the TRA, said that the services " will be suspended until an acceptable solution can be developed and applied". The UAE's relevant telecoms operators have already been informed, he added.
"We informed both Etisalat and Du that providing the option of alternative services to ensure the continuity of service from October 11 to its subscribers - both individuals and organisations - is the most important priority," said Al Ghanim.
"The TRA notes that BlackBerry appears to be compliant in similar regulatory
environments of other countries, which makes non-compliance in the UAE disappointing and of great concern."
The news will be a blow for RIM in its ongoing battle to fend off challenges to its market leading position in the business smartphone market from Apple's iPhone.
Apple pulled off a coup in May when UK bank Standard Chartered offered its worldwide workforce the chance to switch from BlackBerry to iPhone.
However, RIM received a boost in June when the UK government said it would not sanction use of the Apple device for ministers because of security concerns, although BlackBerrys continue to meet the required standards.
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