BlackBerry and the (TRA) Telecommunications Regulatory Authority team up in the UAE

By James Richardson on 11 Aug 2014 01:30 am EDT

When it comes to good publicity things don't get that much better than when BlackBerry announces that they have entered into a new partnership with a government. That's what's happened over in the UAE as the Canadian company is going full steam ahead with the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority and BlackBerry 10.

To most of us around the world this headline doesn't really stand out, but if you give the following press release a quick read you'll see that it is in fact pretty impressive and an ongoing, long-term commitment from both BlackBerry and the TRA.

Press Release

UAE, Dubai - BlackBerry Limited, (NASDAQ: BBRY; TSX: BB), a world leader in mobile communications, today announced that it is collaborating with the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) to support the mGovernment initiative outlined and defined by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai. BlackBerry is committed in providing support for the initiative through various activities.

The highly innovative mGovernment initiative comes as part of a wider national effort to transform the UAE government from an eGovernment into a fully operational mGovernment and therefore into one of the world's leading smart governments. The UAE has been ranked second in the world and the first in the Middle East and Africa region in the "Government Usage of ICT" index in the Global Information Technology Report for 2014, jumping 30 places, according to a recent report released by the World Economic Forum.

As part of BlackBerry's commitment to the mGovernment initiative, the Company is providing the TRA with its full support and expertise in its efforts to establish a Mobile Center of Excellence, including an application lab within the TRA, and will act as one of the driving forces for the project. This will be the first application lab in the Arab region, located in Dubai, and dedicated to verifying the quality and security of mGovernment mobile applications. BlackBerry will assist in developing applications for the BlackBerry® 10 platform, and provide expert support and training to development teams in the government.

"As strong supporters of the UAE mGovernment's vision, our legacy in mobile communications and technology can play a pivotal role in making the vision a reality. Through our partnership, we will be providing the TRA with expertise, industry knowledge and best practices built over two decades. We bring expertise from our deep heritage in security, application development, enterprise mobility and interface design based on our experience in 165 countries," said Dave Pryce, Vice President, Government Relations at BlackBerry for EMEA.

As part of its involvement, BlackBerry is also committed to assisting the TRA in developing Application Labs within universities in the UAE to act as a training hub for students and government employees who want to develop applications.

"Working with students and universities to provide education and knowledge transfer for application development will establish this skill as part of the general curriculum in Business and Computer Science courses. We are fully engaged and committed to supporting the TRA, the mGovernment initiative and UAE citizens" added Pryce.

"The mGovernment Lab is an innovative and unique regional project that ultimately reinforces the UAE's leadership the field of mGovernment. BlackBerry is a valued partner and its extensive knowledge of enterprise mobility, security and developing secure applications will help to move this project forward," commented H.E Hamad Obeid Al Mansoori the UAE mGovernment's Director General.

Reader comments

BlackBerry and the (TRA) Telecommunications Regulatory Authority team up in the UAE


This is very good, reinforces BlackBerry in the UAE, more govt apps for daily services.

Posted via CB10

That is really exciting. Looking forward to hear more about how this partnership develops and what effects it will have!

Posted with my Q10 on CB 10

You just GOTTA hope that somewhere down the line the monetization will come in, either though furthering pushing the blackberry 10 platform, phones, and BES, or being paid fees for consulting and providing expertise.

Either way it's impressive to see blackberry acting on its target niche effectively.

Let's go BBRY!!!!

Posted via CB10

I would say while I am glad Blackberry is gaining business I am not enthusiastic that the business is being done in a country with no freedom of the press or freedom of religion. China is a large market as well but with few rights for its citizenry. Over the years we have seen Blackberry make concessions to foreign governments which allowed them to surveil their citizens or detect dissidents and human rights activists as well as criminals.

We all know how the world has changed since 9/11 with regard to individual rights and privacy. Here in the U.S. many government agencies have been combined to allow for "sharing" of data. It would seem that was a bad choice if we consider news stories in recent years.

I will watch with great interest how Blackberry manages to balance a need to provide service and data to a government that uses its power to oppress versus really standing behind its "most secure system" goal. Secure in the context of modern telecommunications mandates privacy as a foundation. If this is overlooked then I don't see a positive outcome for the customer or Blackberry.

There is no privacy in connected people era and US is leading the list by far with so called freedom for privacy and supporting dictators countries to control oil prices and keep its 1% rich list happy.


U.S. definitely has gone backwards but your comments if made in some parts of the world would see you labeled as a Political dissident and hung or worse by the government. We are still nowhere near that here in the U.S. just yet. I don't have a problem with rich people whether they are 1% or 2% like skim milk. Whatever my finances are today is a direct result of what I have done or what I should have done. Life is not fair and neither are all opportunities created equal.

No offense but that's a load of bull.

First off and communication company working in UAE will operate under the same remits to BlackBerry will be subjected to. Talking about rights of privacy especially in the USA is the biggest joke know to man. The market is saturated with Android and Ios device. Android the "free" OS that was designed to collate personal information for the advertising giant known as google. While Apple ties you into there ecosystem in such a systemic nature that upon your death the rights to ALL your personal data transfers to them not forgetting what you give away during your lifetime.

Application permission on either OS is an after thought with your rights to privacy thrown out window the moment you switch them.

People in glass houses shouldn't through stones my friend.

This is nothing but great news for BlackBerry let's just enjoy the moment.

Posted via CB10

"...designed to collate personal information..."

Gotta remember this one. So nicely put. :-)

 BlackBerry? I premdict the future's gonna be chenomenal! 

I've seen a lot pple with a bb10 next to his ios or samsung.
After such news and projects, locals ppl will start using BlackBerry a lot.
If Mr sheik mohamad will show of with a bb10 next day you will not find BlackBerry device in any store :)

Posted via CB10

musical1806 no offense but it seems reading comprehension and critical thinking is sorely lacking in our world today.

I am a Blackberry owner and supporter I do not come here to troll or insult people. If you read my entire post I was critical of the system which I live under as well here in the U.S. I threw no stones whatsoever. I said I would watch with great interest how Blackberry manages a delicate balance of providing a service to a oppressive governments while protecting its claim to being the "most secure" which I believe they still are.

I am more than familiar with Android and iOS and work in the IT field as a Unix and Linux Administrator. My job is to deploy, maintain, secure and monitor such systems. Android is similar to Linux but not Linux. iOS was modeled after BSD Unix.

The reason that markets are saturated with iOS and Android is because people in most of the West and Europe do not remember a time when they were oppressed. People are by nature lazy. They do not want to read and take the time to consider what they are giving away with these permissions. They are more concerned with their vanity.

Blackberry will get my vote as long as they continue to make phones. However, what draws me to Blackberry is Security and Privacy. I know I said above that the current state of affairs in the telecom world regarding privacy is if a government wants your data it is very difficult and expensive to avoid. However, if a criminal wants your data assuming he has no physical access and password to your Blackberry you should be just fine.

Dubai and the UAE generally isn't Saudi Arabia. Yes, some criticisms can be made, but I would suggest you pay the place a visit before assuming it's some kind of vicious dictatorship. No freedom of the press and no freedom of religion simply isn't the case.

'some' criticisms !?!

A simple search on Google highlights the situation with human rights, press freedom and Sharia law and it's bias against women in the UAE. Yes it's slightly more tolerant than some other middle east countries, but it's not exactly hard to improve on close to zero tolerance is it ?.

To be honest though there's nothing unique in what's going on here, most big business deals skip over things like this all the time, very few businesses hold up ethics as their unique selling point.

Yes, SOME criticisms. Want to read the Amnesty International report on the UK or US? You'll find quite a few there too.

There are plenty of things I don't like about how the UAE does things, but once again I am pretty confident you've never set foot in the place.

Why don't you mind your own business? there is no bias in the UAE against women, and you don't wanna talk about the sharia law , just don't go there.

Posted via CB10

Lived there nearly 10 years.
NO freedom of press & speech. To such an extend that self-censorship is the norm. Try to scratch the paint regarding their so called royals or diving assets, live any free press would do, and they will show you their true colors (deportation in best case). Journalists' passports are still sometimes hold during employment contract, this should give an idea of UAE freedom of Press.
It kind of reminds me of their crackdown on AIDS (HIV+ people are deported from UAE). They provided people with free blood test during World Aids day, this was hosted at... Dubai Police HQ (no joke...)

They perfectly practice mass interception (DPI, etc), thanks to the US, UK & France, and probably Blackberry, remember the BIS BBM issue?... I personally know some people who were monitored via their BBM, and for some very little insignificant reasons!
In this country, there's a HUGE difference between being a dollar/euro tourist, and a resident...

So, a Blackberry-TRA deal? With labs in local Unis where all (the very few) research depts are run by expatriates?
What a joke... TRA is still actively blocking BBM Voice & Video.
Another UAE smoke screen, like they want to send a mission to Mars, while their water tap is still not fit for consumption.
I still try to understand why they need to show off that much, while there's very little to show off about there.

I hope you go there one day and they throw you behind the sun so we don't have to deal with your crap here.

Posted via CB10

My crap as you say, speaks the truth, while it seems to annoy you.
There's no freedom of press, nor speech. No right of association, rally or public gathering, no political party allowed nor labor union. HIV/HBV people are deported on the spot, etc etc, I could go on for some time. And yes women are discriminated on many cases, I've experienced it myself !!! Regarding BBM, DPI etc, it seems you're the only one not aware of it hahaha

You must have been dealing with retarded people, I have been there a lot and there is none of that shit you're talking about, looks like you're the only one seeing it.

Posted via CB10

From Wikipedia ""

The Emirates have a system of Sharia courts and a system of secular courts. Both systems handle criminal and civil cases. The secular courts are usually part of the federal system and are answerable to the Federal Supreme Court in Abu Dhabi. The Sharia courts are administered by each emirate, but they are answerable to the Federal Supreme Court. The court systems in the emirates of Dubai and Ras al Khaimah are independent of the federal system, but they apply the Civil Procedure Code. Each court system has a multilevel appeals process, and verdicts in all capital cases are appealable to the President. The nature of a case determines which court system hears it, but most cases fall under the jurisdiction of the secular courts. Due-process rights are uniform under both Sharia and civil court procedure. The courts operate on a presumption of innocence. The Federal Supreme Court ruled in 1993 that Sharia punishments may not be imposed on non-Muslims. Extrajudicial punishment of alleged wrongdoers is not unknown.

My remarks were not made without some research. I do not need to go to every place on the planet to have the benefit of first person experience. That is what the news and the internet provides us.

Freedom of press! How about freedom? Our government worship Israel even though they specialize in killing children and starting a war every fee years and stealing land and building settlements and forcing Palestinians to live like shit. Wake up man, there no such thing as freedom of press, let any one say a word about the like of children killer Netanyahu and see what will happen. BTW, Press TV, and Iranian TV, is banned from all the west including Canada and USA...freedom of press my a....while Saudi Arabia, the source of all terrorists in the middle east, is our government best allie . wake up, it is all about money...and the peaceful Israel..let UAE and Saudi Arabia send one bullet to help the Palestinian and I bet you they will become headlines as dictator countries. Oh, we are talking about BB, good job BlackBerry.

Posted via CB10

Israel is only protecting their people verses the murders of Hamas which puts their people in the line of fire to protect their barbarec ways and could care less about the Palestinians! Wake up you looser and see what the evil is there and what Israel is doing to keep peace in the area. Did Israel murder 3 innocent kids and take pride in it? No you A$$. I guess you are a blood thirsty person wanting to kill anyone that does not have your views!! You Wake Up and I guess you think 911 was the US governments plot!

Not to continue this spiral out of control, but you should check out the imgur of Palestine and Israel over the years.

If a foreign body said I was just in coming into your sovereign house and and setting up shop, I'm sure you'd be pretty pissed off too.

Posted via CB10

What Israel is doing to keep peace in the area? HAHAHA! That made me LOL!

You don't even know what sh!t is coming out of your mouth!

Posted via CB10

Wait, what?! Saudi Arabia is the source of terrorism in the Middle East? I was totally agreeing with what you were saying until I read this.

You people have no idea about anything in the Middle East now do you?

I'm not gonna go into details but you got wrong info man.

Posted via CB10

Can somebody brief me in simple language what this really means...

I can't seem to understand, is it kinda Security consulting what they are talking about

Posted via CB10

Looks like another piece of the enterprise puzzle put together by the leadership of Mr. Chen.


And really underlines the fact there is only one option when mobile and security are mentioned in the same sentence.

 BlackBerry? I premdict the future's gonna be chenomenal! 

that's huge!! Dubai has the money to play around. Gov with $. Residents with high standards and $. Plus university labs for development?!! Wow. Leverage is magical.

Posted via CB10

These application labs will be key in getting exposure in that region and further BlackBerry 10 foot hold in The UAE. I'm sure BlackBerry will be paid for the labs, Gov't apps and also monetize the services to the TRA. Good move BlackBerry... I see millions here.

Posted via CB10

[WARNING SARCASM FOLLOWS] I am sorry Sir but you must be mistaken we only have censorship here in North America. Be right back there is a knock at the door. Probably the DHS just wanting to ask me about my post. You must be censored as clearly you are incapable of reasonable thought.

Wow! Great sounding press release. The expertise and experience developed here should serve as a springboard to other ambitious enterprise collaborations!

Posted via CB10 on my Z10

Great News. BlackBerry supporting His Excellency Sheikh Mohamed Vision truly a great step. Salutations!!!

From my Z30 Device using

And like someone mentioned earlier, bloody unlock Bbm voice and video already, it's pathetic that this hasn't been done yet, facetime, Skype etc.. all work..

Z30 Pooooooooower!

Nice, that's good news. I'm currently in Dubai and BlackBerry seems pretty common still.

C00121953 channel for car freaks!!

Great news. Another forward step in Chen's visions for BlackBerry. Enterprise is always good.

Very impressive and excellent news. The UAE is fast becoming a trend setting hub and this partnership can only bode well for BlackBerry.

Posted via CB10

When I was in the Dubai airport last year BlackBerry was heavily advertised and I saw a lot of BlackBerrys being used. The education aspect will also acquaintance students with BlackBerry, if they r not already users. Nice!

My Z10 - an extension of me

Yep - BlackBerry has traditionally been very popular in Dubai (though waning in the last couple of years). When BlackBerry had it's email problems some years ago (eg the NOC problems - when there were no emails on BlackBerry handsets for a few days) the incidence of Road Traffic Accidents in Dubai dropped significantly for these days!

I have a question my son is in Saudi Arabia and we Communicate via BBM Voice, video or text and I have wondered if we are being monitored. Not that our conversation is interesting enough to raise any red flags.

Posted via CB10

Assume that you are and conduct yourself accordingly would be what I would do. You may not be actively monitored but the communications are more than likely stored for future inspection.

I may have missed something there, but what do the terms eGovernment and mGovernment mean? Emerging and Mature? Electronic and Mobile? Elected and Monarchy?

Posted via CB10

This release has a lot of insider jargon without much explanation. Am I correct in thinking that it says that the UAE is trying to transition its goverment agencies to run on mobile "mDevices" instead of on traditional "eDevices"? If so, it seems promising that they are choosing BBRY over the competition

Great, but after reading the piece I really don't know what an eGovernment or an mGovernment is and why it's such a good thing to transition from one to the other :p

Sounds like they are moving away from desktop to mobile devices. I guess it means more mobile options for its workers and clients. Less reliance on websites; more reliance on mobile apps. But that's just a guess.

Posted via CB10

Dear BlackBerry,

I really feeling proud to know this big step. May ALLAH Bless BlackBerry. And give more and more success in the World.

Yours loyal,
Waqas Ahmad

Posted via CB10

Wow nice move BlackBerry although I don't like TRA's ban on some apps and websites

But great to see BlackBerry partnering for HH Sheikh Mo's vision, a true innovative leader!

Posted via CB10

that is one badass title lol (His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai)