The quiet launch of legalised voice over internet protocol (VoIP) calling cards in the UAE is a big step forward for the telecom sector, which should hopefully lead to more changes. For many years, there has been a clamour for opening up VoIP services and now du and etisalat have done just that.
Residents in the UAE have been using calling cards from third parties for many years despite strict rules from the regulatory authorities. The two new entrants in the market will be hoping to cash in by targeting low-income groups, but the prices offered still fall short of expectations and do not match those of competitors. Calls to the Indian sub-continent over VoIP offered by du and etisalat are just a tad cheaper than those made over the landline using certain plans. Etisalat and du will do well to offer competitive rates to wean away customers to a legal alternative. In turn, the Telecom Regulatory Authority can then clamp down on illegal vendors.
At the moment, the legalised VoIP services are but a start that should have been made many years ago.