Advertising itself: The company Five has been distributing brochures to people in and around Satwa advertising its ‘VoIP’ services. A call centre staffer said they have got the green light from etisalat, but etisalat did not confirm if it was true XPRESS/Javed Nawab Image Credit: XPRESS/Javed Nawab

DUBAI: Cheap calls to India, Pakistan and other Asian countries, using voice over internet Protocol (VoIP) are being peddled in Dubai for as low as 40 fils per minute by a company.

Five sells Dh20 and Dh50 international VoIP cards and is distributing leaflets about the service in Dubai. It also has a toll-free number with a call centre in Ajman to handle customer queries.

Five also offers cheap calls to other Asian countries including Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh for 60 fils to 80 fils per minute and to the Philippines for 95 fils per minute.

XPRESS came across leaflets in several languages being handed out to customers in Satwa.

An Indian call centre staff of Five said their cards are available in Lulu supermarkets and even some etisalat business centres.

The agent claims they have the green light from UAE authorities and their staff attend to customers from a call centre based in Ajman.

The unbranded VoIP call cards are similar to phone credit scratch cards and come with a PIN number.

“It’s really simple and easy to use,” said the agent.

An etisalat spokesperson has neither confirmed nor denied its links to “Five”. Industry officials, however, said the generic VoIP service was never formally announced, but is licensed in the UAE.

A spokesperson for du, the UAE’s second licensed telecom operator, said: “I can confirm to you that this is not our product.”

VoIP has been in place for at least a decade across the globe, but the UAE has been late in harnessing it due to restrictions.

In March 2010, etisalat launched its first legal VoIP solution. The service was limited to business customers, allowing enterprises to outsource the management of their telephone network.

At Gitex in October 2011, etisalat launched its ePlus app, which allows subscribers to make calls via VoIP, and access social media, internet messenger, as well as the latest music, games and apps.