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Skype, FaceTime soon to be accessible in UAE?

UAE’s Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) confirmed that they are in talks with technology and software giants Microsoft and Apple, with the goal of making Skype and FaceTime accessible in the UAE.

Arabic newspaper Al Ittihad reported that TRA Director General Hamad Obaid Al Mansouri said that there are still ongoing discussions regarding the potential lifting of the ban on some Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) apps in the country.

It can be recalled that earlier this year, UAE telecom providers Etisalat and du confirmed that they have blocked Skype in the country.

Etisalat said Skype provides unauthorized and unlicensed VoIP service which the UAE does not support.

“The access to the Skype App is blocked since it is providing unlicensed Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) Service, which falls under the classification of prohibited contents as per the United Arab Emirates’ Regulatory Framework,” Etisalat explained in a tweet.

Due to this, Etisalat and du have also announced that Botim and C’Me can be used as an alternative for Skype. Users can experience unlimited calls and chat using these apps after they avail the telecom providers’ Internet Calling Pack for Dh50 or Dh100.

Aside from Skype, FaceTime and other VoIP apps are also not allowed in the country.

However, Al Mansouri said that the UAE and the two technology firms have a strong relationship, and that they are planning on expanding in the country.

He added that Microsoft has launched two data centers in the UAE, one in Dubai and another in Abu Dhabi, while Apple has opened three official stores in the country – the ones in Dubai Mall, Mall of the Emirates and Abu Dhabi’s Yas mall.

Al Mansouri also noted that the number of users of Botim and C’Me “is on the rise.”

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