Business | Telecoms

VoIP through Skype still unauthorised in UAE: TRA

Computer-to-computers calls are successful but mobile-to-mobile or mobile-to-landline calls are still blocked

  • By Naushad K. Cherrayil, Staff Reporter
  • Published: 16:49 April 9, 2013
  • Gulf News

  • Image Credit: Clint Egbert/Gulf News
  • For people looking to take advantage of Skype’s cheap internet phone rates, the message is: nothing has changed.

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.

Comments (4)

  1. Added 13:42 April 10, 2013

    If you think about it, all outside companies need to have a 100% locally owned agent to sell to clients inside Dubai. This is for the client's protection. If the local agent is Du or Etisalat, then if skype decides to close the service and deny refunds of accounts, the Dubai clients can place a case against the agent which is du or Etisalat to refund completely the balance remaining in their skype account. TRA had the same policy for many years. Just that the people never requested the local agent to contact skype to have a responsibility sharing agreement. Good work protecting the Dubai clients TRA and DED. Users of skype can suggest to the local agent to take like 5% or whatever commission to handle the responsibility of providing the service. Also du and etisalat can request skype to deposit all the money held in accounts of skype (not used) in case skype decides to close down and the customers have to be refunded by etisalat and du. If skype refuses to protect the Dubai clients, then any voip company was and still is allowed to deal with Du and etisalat as a provider. That shall get them a lot of minutes. As long as they can guarantee the refunds due in case they decide to close. Regards, Khawar Nehal

    Khawar Nehal, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  2. Added 12:19 April 10, 2013

    i think some people don't have any other work to do that's why stuck with skype. pls leave skype/Voip as it is, concentrate on some other topic

    Eram, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  3. Added 11:45 April 10, 2013

    Hello, I have tried it is working from both the ISP's (Etisalat and DU), including adsl and 3g, from laptop and iphone.

    Nikhil, Abu Dhbau, United Arab Emirates

  4. Added 10:00 April 10, 2013

    ah! Happiness gone. Well Etisalat is providing now almost equal of cheaper calling rates to many destinations so there is no point of blocking the Skype now. It will be good for healthy competition.

    Mohammad, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

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