1. M.Rizk's Avatar
    I bought an iPhone 6 Plus from Qatar. It's factory unlocked, and Qatar allows all VoIPs no exceptions, even FaceTime.

    I bought it from Ooredoo Qatar which is listed on Apple as a supported carrier offering LTE, FaceTime and MMS. FaceTime and Audio works once I insert my Ooredoo Qatar SIM, Vodafone Qatar or Etisalat Egypt. So basically any Middle Eastern SIM as long as it's not blocked on that specific carrier.

    Once a non Middle Eastern SIM is inserted, FaceTime is no longer there. It's removed from the Home screen, settings, contacts and even Siri says it's restricted.

    But why? After researching it for hours, chatting with Apple, reading online and taking a look at the differences between the Middle East carrier bundles, and T-Mobiles I found out the following;

    iPhones and iPads with serial number ending with "AE" will check the carrier bundle for a field called "AllowVOIP" if this field is set to off, or not available, the iPhone will remove FaceTime. If it's set to on then FaceTime is back

    Now the problem is that only carriers in the Middle East include this field in their carrier bundles, because they know about it. Those in the U.S., and probably everywhere else have no idea about its existence..

    Now, do you think there is anyway to bring this to Apple's attention?! This is really getting me mad that I bought a phone that supports almost all commercial LTE frequencies yet turns into almost a brick when used abroad.

    FaceTime is life for me. Unfortunately it's the only way I can keep connected with my family and friends when traveling.

    Note: I am not begging Apple to unlock FaceTime in countries that specifically asked Apple to block the feature for, I am asking if my iPhone can properly offer FaceTime when I travel to countries where it is not blocked, specially that my carrier (Ooredoo Qatar) allows FaceTime.
    Last edited by M.Rizk; 04-20-2015 at 07:12 PM.
    04-20-2015 06:48 PM
  2. SeanHRCC's Avatar
    It's pointless to bring this to Apple's attention, because Apple isn't responsible or even involved with the decision to block such features in middle eastern countries (and several other countries outside of the middle east for that matter). It's a decision by the governing body of said countries as well as the carriers servicing those countries.

    You're crying to the wrong shoulder thinking getting that to Apple is going to some how bring resolution to you...the people responsible are the carriers and the government who implements said regulations and restrictions. They say "Apple, if you want to sell your stuff here, this has to be done..." and bam, it's done.
    Just_Me_D likes this.
    04-20-2015 06:57 PM
  3. M.Rizk's Avatar
    It's pointless to bring this to Apple's attention, because Apple isn't responsible or even involved with the decision to block such features in middle eastern countries (and several other countries outside of the middle east for that matter). It's a decision by the governing body of said countries as well as the carriers servicing those countries.

    You're crying to the wrong shoulder thinking getting that to Apple is going to some how bring resolution to you...the people responsible are the carriers and the government who implements said regulations and restrictions. They say "Apple, if you want to sell your stuff here, this has to be done..." and bam, it's done.
    I think you didn't really get my point. I am not asking if Apple can unblock FaceTime in countries that have asked Apple specifically to block it.

    I bought my device from a country where FaceTime is enabled, and I expect to have it enabled when I travel to any other country where FaceTime is enabled, but due to the way Apple implemented the ban check, my device is restricted to the Middle East only.

    All I am asking for is that if the iPhone finds the "AllowVOIP" field missing in the carrier bundle it should allow FaceTime, but if the field is there and marked off then keep it blocked. This way the device will work were allowed, and stop the service in countries that specifically disabled it.
    04-20-2015 07:02 PM
  4. SeanHRCC's Avatar
    I think you didn't really get my point. I am not asking if Apple can unblock FaceTime in countries that have asked Apple specifically to block it.

    I bought my device from a country where FaceTime is enabled, and I expect to have it enabled when I travel to any other country where FaceTime is enabled, but due to the way Apple implemented the ban check, my device is restricted to the Middle East only.

    All I am asking for is that if the iPhone finds the "AllowVOIP" field missing in the carrier bundle it should allow FaceTime, but if the field is there and marked off then keep it blocked. This way the device will work were allowed, and stop the service in countries that specifically disabled it.
    So to make sure I understand what you did clearly...you found a work around to the restrictions set in your area, and your phone now allows you to use restricted features, but is blocking them in areas of the world that would normally allow the use of the feature unrestricted?
    04-20-2015 08:00 PM
  5. M.Rizk's Avatar
    So to make sure I understand what you did clearly...you found a work around to the restrictions set in your area, and your phone now allows you to use restricted features, but is blocking them in areas of the world that would normally allow the use of the feature unrestricted?
    You can almost say so. It's just about editing the carrier bundle but that requires jailbreak, and I hoping it becomes an official fix by Apple.

    I spoke with two Apple Care Plus advisors today, they both confirmed my findings but they said there is nothing to be done but submitting to the feedback form on Apple website.
    04-20-2015 08:07 PM
  6. SeanHRCC's Avatar
    You can almost say so. It's just about editing the carrier bundle but that requires jailbreak, and I hoping it becomes an official fix by Apple.
    lol...so you want Apple to address a work around you exploited that left you with some unfavorable results.

    Good luck with that.
    04-20-2015 08:10 PM
  7. M.Rizk's Avatar
    lol...so you want Apple to address a work around you exploited that left you with some unfavorable results.

    Good luck with that.
    Eh.. Didn't do anything illegal. FaceTime is allowed in both Qatar, and the U.S. Isn't it? I am just asking Apple to make it available by default, and that's it.
    04-20-2015 08:11 PM
  8. SeanHRCC's Avatar
    Eh.. Didn't do anything illegal. FaceTime is allowed in both Qatar, and the U.S. Isn't it? I am just asking Apple to make it available by default, and that's it.
    Honestly, I have no idea what the legality of it is in another country...I just think it's a bit silly to expect Apple to respond to your working around a set restriction that they don't even regulate (they just abide by).
    04-20-2015 08:13 PM
  9. M.Rizk's Avatar
    Honestly, I have no idea what the legality of it is in another country...I just think it's a bit silly to expect Apple to respond to your working around a set restriction that they don't even regulate (they just abide by).
    They don't have to listen to my workaround of course, but they should offer a fix. I for one will no longer get their products from the Middle East, next time I am buying their products from the US instead.
    04-20-2015 08:20 PM
  10. SeanHRCC's Avatar
    They don't have to listen to my workaround of course, but they should offer a fix. I for one will no longer get their products from the Middle East, next time I am buying their products from the US instead.
    Again, I beg the question...given your action of taking advantage of an exploit that works around a regulation they are required to implement by a governing body, why should they offer a "fix"? You are trying to get around a restriction, and by doing so, you've encountered an unfavorable result...how is this something Apple "should" address at all?

    By this logic, jailbreakers should hold Apple accountable to the tweaks they make after bypassing apple's system of checks and balances in order to obtain things the iPhone was never intended to do (generally or in specific areas of the world).
    04-20-2015 08:54 PM
  11. HankAZ's Avatar
    I bought an iPhone 6 Plus from Qatar. It's factory unlocked, and Qatar allows all VoIPs no exceptions, even FaceTime.

    I bought it from Ooredoo Qatar which is listed on Apple as a supported carrier offering LTE, FaceTime and MMS. FaceTime and Audio works once I insert my Ooredoo Qatar SIM, Vodafone Qatar or Etisalat Egypt. So basically any Middle Eastern SIM as long as it's not blocked on that specific carrier.

    Once a non Middle Eastern SIM is inserted, FaceTime is no longer there. It's removed from the Home screen, settings, contacts and even Siri says it's restricted.

    But why? After researching it for hours, chatting with Apple, reading online and taking a look at the differences between the Middle East carrier bundles, and T-Mobiles I found out the following;

    iPhones and iPads with serial number ending with "AE" will check the carrier bundle for a field called "AllowVOIP" if this field is set to off, or not available, the iPhone will remove FaceTime. If it's set to on then FaceTime is back

    Now the problem is that only carriers in the Middle East include this field in their carrier bundles, because they know about it. Those in the U.S., and probably everywhere else have no idea about its existence..

    Now, do you think there is anyway to bring this to Apple's attention?! This is really getting me mad that I bought a phone that supports almost all commercial LTE frequencies yet turns into almost a brick when used abroad.

    FaceTime is life for me. Unfortunately it's the only way I can keep connected with my family and friends when traveling.

    Note: I am not begging Apple to unlock FaceTime in countries that specifically asked Apple to block the feature for, I am asking if my iPhone can properly offer FaceTime when I travel to countries where it is not blocked, specially that my carrier (Ooredoo Qatar) allows FaceTime.
    If you've already chatted with Apple about this, haven't you already brought it to their attention?
    04-20-2015 08:59 PM
  12. M.Rizk's Avatar
    Again, I beg the question...given your action of taking advantage of an exploit that works around a regulation they are required to implement by a governing body, why should they offer a "fix"?
    Let me put it in another way.

    Countries that want FaceTime blocked, have a field called "AllowVOIP" in carrier bundle and it's set to off so that the iPhone disables FaceTime.

    Because Apple sells devices there of the same model, they decide that the Middle East model does a check on that field and check whether it's on or off. If on then enabled FaceTime.

    Carriers in the Middle East know this option, so those who want to enable the service, add this field and sets it to on. Now where is the problem?

    Carriers everywhere else, including T-Mobile US has no idea that such a field should exist, so they just didn't add it to their carrier bundle. Now my iPhone tries to check if this field is on or off but it finds out that the field doesn't even exist so it just decides to disable FaceTime.

    Now that's I consider a bug, because if the iPhone was given no instructions to disable FaceTime it shouldn't disable it, yet it does. Apple just needs to only disable FaceTime if this field exists, and set to off. Otherwise FaceTime is there.

    Now that's fix that I believe will make everything works as intended, and keep FaceTime disabled still in countries where it is not allowed.

    If you've already chatted with Apple about this, haven't you already brought it to their attention?
    I know it, you know it. We all know it.. When was customer support ever a way to catch the companies attention. It's either you do it through media, petition or a protest.
    04-20-2015 09:02 PM
  13. Just_Me_D's Avatar
    ... just think it's a bit silly to expect Apple to respond to your working around a set restriction that they don't even regulate (they just abide by).
    Is it just me or does anyone else also thinks the above statement is crystal clear?
    Not Quite Right likes this.
    04-20-2015 09:05 PM
  14. M.Rizk's Avatar
    Is it just me or does anyone else also thinks the above statement is crystal clear?
    Only if governments asked Apple to disable devices sold locally from working abroad too, but I am sure that's not the case, at least not in Qatar.

    If that's the case in the UAE or KSA then I don't really care. I only abide by the laws in Qatar, where I live and got my device from, and so does Apple, or at least it should.
    04-20-2015 09:08 PM
  15. HankAZ's Avatar
    I know it, you know it. We all know it.. When was customer support ever a way to catch the companies attention. It's either you do it through media, petition or a protest.
    You said that you chatted with "Apple" about this. If you talked about it, then they are aware of it - which is your initial question. Again, apparently Apple is aware of your concern. So you don't want "to bring it to their attention", you want them to change it to accommodate you and your needs.

    Your question has been answered. Not sure what else we can provide. Contact Al Jazeera. Start a petition. Start a protest. Knock yourself out.
    Just_Me_D likes this.
    04-20-2015 09:12 PM
  16. SeanHRCC's Avatar
    Let me put it in another way.

    Countries that want FaceTime blocked, have a field called "AllowVOIP" in carrier bundle and it's set to off so that the iPhone disables FaceTime.

    Because Apple sells devices there of the same model, they decide that the Middle East model does a check on that field and check whether it's on or off. If on then enabled FaceTime.

    Carriers in the Middle East know this option, so those who want to enable the service, add this field and sets it to on. Now where is the problem?

    Carriers everywhere else, including T-Mobile US has no idea that such a field should exist, so they just didn't add it to their carrier bundle. Now my iPhone tries to check if this field is on or off but it finds out that the field doesn't even exist so it just decides to disable FaceTime.

    Now that's I consider a bug, because if the iPhone was given no instructions to disable FaceTime it shouldn't disable it, yet it does. Apple just needs to only disable FaceTime if this field exists, and set to off. Otherwise FaceTime is there.

    Now that's fix that I believe will make everything works as intended, and keep FaceTime disabled still in countries where it is not allowed.



    I know it, you know it. We all know it.. When was customer support ever a way to catch the companies attention. It's either you do it through media, petition or a protest.
    So why didn't you buy your device in the market where the option was "known"?
    04-20-2015 09:12 PM
  17. HankAZ's Avatar
    Only if governments asked Apple to disable devices sold locally from working abroad too, but I am sure that's not the case, at least not in Qatar.

    If that's the case in the UAE or KSA then I don't really care. I only abide by the laws in Qatar, where I live and got my device from, and so does Apple, or at least it should.
    You only need concern yourself with the laws of Qatar when you are in Qatar. But if you are in UAE or KSA or Iran or Saudi Arabia, you darn well better concern yourself with the local laws when you are in those countries (eg, under the jurisdiction of those governments). Apparently, Apple is, too.
    04-20-2015 09:14 PM
  18. M.Rizk's Avatar
    You only need concern yourself with the laws of Qatar when you are in Qatar. But if you are in UAE or KSA or Iran or Saudi Arabia, you darn well better concern yourself with the local laws when you are in those countries (eg, under the jurisdiction of those governments). Apparently, Apple is, too.
    True, but again I am not really asking Apple to unblock FaceTime for them. I am just hoping they unblock it for me as long as I am not visiting any of those two countries.
    04-20-2015 09:16 PM
  19. SeanHRCC's Avatar
    True, but again I am not really asking Apple to unblock FaceTime for them. I am just hoping they unblock it for me as long as I am not visiting any of those two countries.
    lol...do you still not see how ridiculous this sounds?

    "Hey Apple! I know you sell iPhones to millions upon millions upon millions of people, but I'm out here and I found a work around to one of the restrictions a government requires you to implement, and when I did it, my phones doesn't work how I think it should...think you could make an exception for me? I promise I won't use it in countries where i shouldn't!"
    Just_Me_D likes this.
    04-20-2015 09:19 PM
  20. warcraftWidow's Avatar
    Let me put it in another way.

    Countries that want FaceTime blocked, have a field called "AllowVOIP" in carrier bundle and it's set to off so that the iPhone disables FaceTime.

    Because Apple sells devices there of the same model, they decide that the Middle East model does a check on that field and check whether it's on or off. If on then enabled FaceTime.

    Carriers in the Middle East know this option, so those who want to enable the service, add this field and sets it to on. Now where is the problem?

    Carriers everywhere else, including T-Mobile US has no idea that such a field should exist, so they just didn't add it to their carrier bundle. Now my iPhone tries to check if this field is on or off but it finds out that the field doesn't even exist so it just decides to disable FaceTime.

    Now that's I consider a bug, because if the iPhone was given no instructions to disable FaceTime it shouldn't disable it, yet it does. Apple just needs to only disable FaceTime if this field exists, and set to off. Otherwise FaceTime is there.

    Now that's fix that I believe will make everything works as intended, and keep FaceTime disabled still in countries where it is not allowed.



    I know it, you know it. We all know it.. When was customer support ever a way to catch the companies attention. It's either you do it through media, petition or a protest.
    Makes sense to me. You just want Apple to have a default setting of FaceTime on but allow carriers to turn it off per their country's laws.
    04-20-2015 09:26 PM
  21. M.Rizk's Avatar
    Makes sense to me. You just want Apple to have a default setting of FaceTime on but allow carriers to turn it off per their country's laws.
    Exactly...
    04-20-2015 09:27 PM
  22. iEd's Avatar
    If you use the Qatar sim in the U.S. Does that make FaceTime available?


    Sent from my iPhone 6 Plus using Tapatalk
    04-20-2015 09:52 PM
  23. M.Rizk's Avatar
    If you use the Qatar sim in the U.S. Does that make FaceTime available?


    Sent from my iPhone 6 Plus using Tapatalk
    It does work yes.
    04-20-2015 09:53 PM
  24. iEd's Avatar
    It does work yes.
    But it's going to cost a arm and a leg over cellular in the U.S.


    Sent from my iPhone 6 Plus using Tapatalk
    04-20-2015 09:56 PM
  25. M.Rizk's Avatar
    But it's going to cost a arm and a leg over cellular.


    Sent from my iPhone 6 Plus using Tapatalk
    Doesn't cost much for data roaming on the Qatar SIM. It's about $30 for the first 1 GB valid for 7 days, then about 30 cents for each additional megabyte. 1 GB is usually enough for a week, but it only comes with 100 units valid for incoming, and outgoing calls which isn't enough. That's why I decided to go for T-Mobile Simple Choice plan.
    04-20-2015 09:58 PM
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