Dubai: The UAE’s Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) said that it has no issues with the voice over internet protocol (VoIP) services in the country.
Majed Sultan Al Mesmar, deputy director-general of TRA, told Gulf News that as VoIP is a regulated service, interested players need to get a UAE licence or authorisation and follow the framework.
He said that VoIP apps that comply with UAE’s regulatory framework work perfectly fine in the UAE.
VoIP entails free or low-cost voice or video calls on apps such as Google’s Duo, Microsoft’s Skype, Apple’s FaceTime and WhatsApp as done over the internet.
When asked whether TRA is in talks with VoIP players, Al Mesmar said: “We always clarify the requirements and TRA’s website contains all the required information with regard to VoIP policy and [the] licensing framework and how to apply.”
In addition, he said that VoIP providers can also coordinate with licensed operators if they wish to obtain the required authorisations.
“We have authorised the apps of Botim and C’Me as they approached us through the licensed operators. Apart from these, no other players have approached us,” he said.
Both etisalat and du offer a monthly fee of Dh50 for mobile users for Botim and C’Me and Dh100 per month for WiFi users at home.
Microsoft told Gulf News in April that they are in talks with the TRA to lift the ban on Skype.
Sukhdev Singh, executive director of market research and advisory firm Kantar TNS, said that big businesses have their own VPNs to access Skype video and voice calls in the UAE.
'Skype could become a reality'
With Microsoft opening two data centres in Dubai and Abu Dhabi early next year, Singh said Skype could become a reality.
Skype is part of Microsoft Office 365.
Right now, only the chat feature, which is text-based, in Skype is available for businesses.
“OTT [over the top] services such as VoIP calls have internationally become a norm. VoIP is one of the main fallouts of the reliable high-speed networks,” he said.
Al Mesmar said that the VoIP policy was announced in 2006 and it was updated in 2009.
“The TRA always conducts studies related to different policies and regulations to be aligned with the vision of the UAE, and an update will be implemented if the outcome of the studies recommends it,” he said.