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

Dubai: The festive season is in full swing and as expats have either gone back home to celebrate the holidays, or chosen to stay in the UAE, the free internet calling app Skype was used by many to connect with friends and family.

Until now.

Over the weekend, the UAE’s telecom providers Etisalat and du have confirmed that Skype is blocked throughout the country. 

Replying to a number of social media users over the Skpe ban, Etisalat said: “The access to the Skype App is blocked since it is providing unlicensed Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) Service, which falls under the classification of prohibited contents as per the United Arab Emirates' Regulatory Framework.”

In the same manner, du also responded to its customers' queries, and said: “Please note that any unauthorized applications or services that are providing VoIP calling services are not supported in UAE.”

So what are the other options?

Although the Skype app is blocked in the UAE, telecom providers have assured that there are legal ways for residents to stay connected with their family and friends through internet services.   

Both du and Etisalat have offered the VoIP-based apps Botim and C’Me as part of their “unlimited” voice and video call services.

However, they do come with a monthly fee.

Click here to know how to register for VoIP services with du.

Click here to know how to register for VoIP services with Etisalat.