On March 30, 2020, the TRA updated the number of apps available across all UAE networks. Image Credit: Gulf News

Dubai: The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) on Monday announced the addition of five apps that can now be used across all UAE networks.

Last week, the TRA introduced Microsoft Teams, Skype for Business, Zoom and Blackboard for all networks. Following the recent amendments, residents using Etisalat and du services will now also have free access to Google Hangout Meet, Cisco Webex, Avaya Spaces, BlueJeans and Slack.

In a statement, the TRA said that in coordination with UAE telecom operators Etisalat and du, it has increased the number of accessible applications "on an exceptional basis and until further notice" as part of the UAE's efforts to contain the spread of coronavirus COVID-19.

On Sunday, the UAE announced one death from COVID-19 and 102 new cases, bringing the total number of diagnosed cases to 570.

“In light of the UAE’s efforts to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 and the ongoing effort to support distance learning, [we announce] the availability of an additional set of applications on all of the UAE’s networks, on an exceptional basis and until further notice,” said the telecom authority.

The applications on all UAE networks include:

  1. Google Hangout Meet
  2. Cisco Webex
  3. Avaya Spaces
  4. BlueJeans
  5. Slack

Applications that continue to remain available are:

  1. Microsoft Teams
  2. Skype for Business
  3. Zoom
  4. Blackboard

The regulatory authority said it will periodically review the list of available applications, which is in line to support the nation’s efforts to encourage employees to work from home.

Employees in Dubai were instructed to work remotely from March 25 to April 9 following the directives issued by the Dubai Economic Department (DED), who encouraged private sector establishments to start a work-from-home scheme for 80 per cent of their employees.

Pharmacies, grocery stores, supermarkets and cooperative societies are exempt from the directive.

The DED also clarified that the 80 per cent work-from-home mandate for all companies exempts the following:

  • Health sector
  • Pharmaceutical sector
  • Food retail outlets (including animal feed)
  • Industrial and manufacturing
  • Construction, contracting and building materials
  • Security services
  • Logistics and delivery services
  • Supply chain
  • Workshop
  • Cleaning services
  • Cash transport
  • Banking sector