Middle East issues with BIS causes huge increase in Nimbuzz user base

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By Michael Hepples on 6 Aug 2010 09:16 pm EDT

With the latest news of Saudi Arabia shutting down BIS service to their population, and the other countries threatening to cut off BIS access to devices in their respective countries, I found this little tidbit to be interesting. Tobias from Nimbuzz fired me an email this morning, letting me know that he has seen a massive increase in registrations for the free multi-platform instant messaging client. Over the past week, registrations have gone from a few hundred a week, to 8,000 on Wednesday and a whopping 35,000 new users yesterday alone! Users facing loss of their BBM capabilities are scrambling to find an alternative, and it seems that the number one solution for them is Nimbuzz.

The main thrust of the ban in this region is against the BlackBerry encryption methods, and Nimbuzz runs off a different format, allowing it to remain legal. With other countries in the region threatening the same type of action, it will be very interesting to see what happens in the coming weeks for this company. Rumor has it that UAE, Lebanon, Indonesia, India and China are considering the same measures, and registrations from users in those countries are mirroring that, beginning to climb steadily as their governments continue to move towards their goals.

Reader comments

Middle East issues with BIS causes huge increase in Nimbuzz user base


i dont know if this app would be legal but whatsapp works fine on wap(or APN however you wanna call it i dunno exactly) internet on a blackberry without BIS. i tried it before.

as in the encryption is open to the governments OR it processes through there servers so they can see, read, and do whatever to whoever with the information..

this is why everyone needs to keep watching and staying in the political main stream about things, our freedoms here in the USA are being eroded away day by day, if you dont cast your vote to the right people and allow this current admin and there "type" to stay in control, we will soon be as bad as china and other counties, China cant even access youtube due to the strict control..

there is already chatter in our gov't and the current admin to lock down the internet, and control it.. even talk of a internet tax..

its coming people, the question is, are you going to sit by like mindless sheep like we have for so long, or stand up and finally say NO.

i live in India, i already registered and installed Nimbuzz. But i still hope they dont shutdown BB service in my country.

I guess... if you have nothing to hide then dont worry and use nimbuzz. if you are planning on doing something illegal or wrong than worry.

Not trying to get too political here, this post afterall was about an app, but your mentality on this subject is poor at best. This type of thinking is what will run us into a "Papers please" type of world.

While I concur that you shouldn't be using it for illegal activities, forbiding basic human rights (especially freedom of speech, religion etc...) is wrong.

I hope you do some research and find out just how heavy the "filtering" is for those countries and what they have to go through on a daily basis, even in the year 2010.

Good point. I was looking at it from the app point of view, but I see understand you mean.

In my defense I have tried my absolute best to stay away from politics, i just hate almost everything about it. The never ending arguments along with the usual corruption scandals. I should probably grow up though and start some reading into politics. any links to help?

Yeah, I understand what you mean, though we use BlackBerry in our Corporate environment because of the security.

As far as politics, I usually try and avoid it and religion as well! There is no "win" on either. :) However, as for reading here is a good thing to check out: http://www.campaignforliberty.com

This is the direction that things are heading in. If BB's native end to end encryption is no longer secure, third party apps are going to step in and fill the void.

I don't know who the team behind Nimbuzz are, but it would be safe to assume that they are well outside of Saudi Arabia's jurisdiction, and would have no reason to make a deal with them. And thanks to the open nature of the BB platform, RIM couldn't control the export of this App even if they wanted to...

wow, all those countries are scared .. they think its a threat to the security of the country? come on lol.. people have been using blackberry for the past 2-3 years in those countries and now they think of it as a threat? Come on, if they were a good government they wouldn't ban it.. cause there's people out there in the world, that can't live without blackberry, and just may cause a huge problem.

Just sayin...

is it blackberry BIS that is being threatened as well or just bbm. I mean the whole point of BIS is about security right. so bbm is only part of it.

why can't they the bbm a separate entity outside of the carriers local jurisdiction. Just like nimbuzz is with their so call security formula?
or am i reading this wrong.

This is to inform everyone that I am running on Mobily network and my BIS never went off and until now my BBM and push emails are working perfectly as before.

See it like this people.. What if you are in these government shoes, nobody can not read the data in bbm , therefor unresponsible people aare taking advantages of this such as drug dealers, terrorist, corruptors, etc . This is starting to happen in my country, btw I'm from indonesia.. I know.. It's a pickle.. Btw if blackberry was soooo secure why did the secret service disallow obama to use one right aftet he was announced president elect.. Eventually rim gave special privilages to the us presidency.. This was one of the considerations of these government.

So, there is no other way of dealing with drug dealers, terrorists, etc. other than to punish the entirety of the country along with business people coming to create wealth in your region? Idiots...

Wow typical easy to fueled american. These governments are not trying to punish the whole BIS they want to compromise, it's RIM who doesn't want to negotiate , they want a win-win solution which RIM doesn't want to even consider , are you too naïve and gullible to think that the american government can't tap to your bbm, RIM secretly gave your government special privilages under the patriot act, which my government just found out hence feels the need to equally protect my country , after all I don't mind at all for a non dictatorion government to watch over me coz I don't have any bad intention on using bbm for planing criminal acts and such.. Well if you don't buy me maybe it would be ironic if one of osama's henchman to use the bbm to blow up your house.. You guys are sooo double standard... Patriot act. *cough

What if the dealers are using paper and pencil to write notes and plans? Maybe the government should require all notes be digitally recorded and transmitted in real time or some police agency should read all notes....


So if rim is trying to reach the younger demographic with the new stylish ad spots, what are there plans for bbm commercials in the UAE. Try bbm it might work... All joking aside now that there is information that its still working

It wouldn't surprise me if , the US & Canandian govts. , along with the European Union , were the driving force behind RIM's "failing to negotiate" with the nations in the Middle East or Asia.

You don't see the US or Canada or the UK, threatening to shut down BIS service, do you? I'm sure the US govt. has offered to compensate RIM, and the Canadian govt. for revenue lost, as they've done with other companies in the past. It's the American way , y'all...

I love how everything is the US's fault. It's the country in which you live causing the problem not the US. Continue to blame the US, that's what your government and the bad actors want you to do. It keeps them in power despite their oppressive measures.

Seriously...who uses BBM anyway? I don't know one BB user who uses it. Unless 100% of your friends have BB's, then BBM has very little value. I tried it once to see what all the hype is, but deleted it because it was not multi-protocol. Unless it gets additional protocols why would I bother to use it?
I use the hell out of some Nimbuzz, though.

i think that many people was signing in nimbuzz just because they are promsing VIOP call, but it's not still aviable...

can only be downloaded OTA onto a Blackberry device, but if the telecom has blocked the site one cannot download it so it's of no value to BB users in areas where filters have been placed on web sites.

Their site been blocked here in the UAE - presumably because of the VOIP functionality included in the App (and not related to the threatened BB suspension).