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Etisalat set to offer internet phone calls

Service likely to start by end of second quarter

Gulf News

Dubai Etisalat will offer internet-based phone calls officially by the end of the second quarter as it tries to fight off competition from Skype and other international providers.

Eisa Haddad, chief commercial officer of etisalat, told Reuters, "we are talking about the second quarter of 2012."

Haddad declined to indicate how much cheaper VoIP calls would be compared with its usual international tariffs.

In reality, people are still using illegal VoIP service in the UAE. Many VoIP cards are available in the market, with just Dh30 for 10 hours use.

Skype is among the foreign providers officially banned in the UAE, but users can still access the VoIP service if they download the app from Skype's website from outside the UAE or by downloading it via a proxy internet connection within the UAE.


Haddad said that any price change has to be approved by the TRA "and that's why it's taking time because we need to get this finalised."

Asked whether Skype will ever be officially available in the UAE, Mohammad Al Ganem, director general of TRA, said in tweet session on Wednesday: "I hope they come to TRA for a licence, it is purely a licensing matter."