Manama: Bahrain is considering introducing regulations for the use of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) applications, the technologies for the delivery of voice communications and multimedia sessions over the Internet.

The decision will hit popular internet messaging applications, such as Skype, WhatsApp, Viber and Tango, that allow thousands of people in the country to share files, send messages and make free calls.

“The measures are meant to guarantee there is no clash with traditions and customs in addition to security considerations,” Shaikh Fawaz Bin Mohammad Al Khalifa, the state minister for Communication Affairs, said. “They are part of the efforts exerted by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) to ensure the existence of regulations that preserve the rights of operators and that there is no abuse of communication applications,” he said.

The new regulations and policies will help promote the communication sector, he added.

Viber and Skype were the most popular applications used in Bahrain, he said.

“The study we have conducted shows that around 100,000 people used VoIP applications in four days,” he said.

The use of VoIP applications amounts to around 1.5 million Bahraini dinars in unpaid international minutes, according to the study.