The Egyptian government has been scrambling to try and shut down communication channels in an attempt to silence protesters and prevent them organizing. After blocking Twitter and Facebook, the Egyptian government has turned to blocking BlackBerry internet service as well. While this hasn’t been confirmed by RIM yet, several users are reporting the outage.
A week ago, the BlackBerry Storm, Curve 8900 and the Bold launched in Egypt via Vodafone Egypt. The move was significant because previously, GPS-enabled BlackBerry devices were banned in Egypt.
Until April 2009, the Egyptian Telecoms Law 10/2003 outlawed the import of GPS-equipped mobile phones, and retailers found selling them could have their entire stock confiscated. The same applied to any kind of commercial use of GPS technology, which included cars equipped with GPS devices.
The ban on GPS-enabled devices upset many Egyptians who felt the military was using security concerns of GPS aided terrorism to justify cutting consumers off from the latest technology. The ban on GPS-enabled devices affected trade locally, as well as on an international scale.
Now that the ban has been lifted, Vodafone and RIM have began exporting devices.
Special thanks to Fisal for the tip!