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This article was published on March 16, 2010

    UAE VoIP still a mess

    UAE VoIP still a mess
    Fawzi Rahal
    Story by

    Fawzi Rahal

    Based in Dubai, Fawzi Rahal is the Editor of The Next Web Middle East and Regional Communications Director at G2. Follow him via Twitter. Yo Based in Dubai, Fawzi Rahal is the Editor of The Next Web Middle East and Regional Communications Director at G2. Follow him via Twitter. You can reach Fawzi at [email protected].

    Following the UAE’s Telecommunications Regulatory Authority’s (TRA) announcement early this year about finally legalizing VoIP, our doubts have been confirmed.

    Skype remains banned in the UAE, despite the telecoms regulator having legalized international VoIP services for local operators.

    International calls made over the internet have been made legal for the first time, according to an update announced today by the TRA. But only the four local operators – Etisalat and du, and satellite service providers Yahsat and Thuraya – will be allowed to offer such services.

    While third parties such as Skype remain banned, they will be allowed to enter into partnerships with local operators, according to the TRA.

    Josh Silverman, chief executive of Skype, has said the firm is open to discussions with the UAE government over the ban, Zawya Dow Jones reported last week.

    Silverman expressed his frustrations stating:

    I personally feel it’s quite short-sighted of the government. We are always open to discussions. The Middle East is important for Skype. We know they want to use our software, and we want to help them

    Skype is not really blocked in the UAE if you manage to get your hands around the application. Skype.com is blocked which means you cannot fill up your account or even download the app in the first place. It’s illegal to use it, but no strict regulations have been put in place to block it.

    I will pose the same question again.. what on earth are they thinking? Are UAE subscribers expected to have their current VoIP access blocked unless they pay an additional fee?

    Via Zawya Dow Jones