Dubai: Following days of speculation over the opening of Skype in the UAE, the TRA announced on Tuesday that the telecommunications law and the VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) policy allow only the licensees (etisalat and du) to provide telecommunications services in the UAE including VoIP services.
The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) has not amended its VoIP regulatory policy since December 30, 2009.
For people looking to take advantage of Skype’s cheap internet phone rates, the message is: nothing has changed.
“As to what the licensees have done in unblocking Skype’s website in the UAE, this action does not change the position of the TRA or amend the policy as this service is considered a regulated activity, therefore, it must be provided by a licensee. Should the service be provided through a partnership with a third party, both licensees must seek approval to provide such service after fulfilling the regulatory and technical requirements of the TRA, which has not happened in the case of Skype. VoIP services through Skype are still unauthorised,” TRA said in a statement.
The same was said by du in a statement to Gulf News on Monday.
“The situation with reference to VoIP topic remains unchanged. That has not stopped us from offering unique VoIP solutions to our customers,” the statement said. “We are taking into consideration the growing customer interest in the VoIP area and are working on a few solutions for the UAE market.”
This means that voice communications are still regulated by the TRA and Skype has not yet received an official green light to offer its services in the UAE.
Gulf News on Tuesday made calls from computer to landline and mobile phones and it was a hit and miss and the call quality is very bad and garbled.
Many people in Dubai are using Skype to Skype accounts on du’s network for more than two years but etisalat unblocked its Skype website on Monday. Computer-to-computers calls are successful but mobile-to-mobile or mobile-to-landline calls are still blocked, which means that Skype is still the same as it was before.