Poll: VoIP ban slows business

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By  Administrator Published  October 13, 2006

The UAE's ban on voice over internet protocol (VoIP) websites, such as Skype.com and Net2Phone.com, and related services is slowing down business growth, according to respondents surveyed at itp.net.

A poll run durng the past four weeks asked visitors to the popular technology portal, 'Do you feel the current VoIP restrictions in the UAE are limiting your business's potential growth?'.

Of the 1,492 users that responded, more than three quarters (just over 77%) answered 'Yes, very much', with a further 12.1% confirming, 'To a degree, yes'. Less than 11% of respondents thought the VoIP ban was having no effect on their organisation's growth.

In recent weeks, incumbent telco Etisalat, operating in line with the UAE regulator's Telecom Law, has begun tightening the reins still further, with even users who run 'pre-ban' installations of popular VoIP applications now reporting that these no longer work.

According to a report in the UAE newspaper Gulf News, the UAE's Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) has defended its decision to block VoIP services, claiming that such services "should be treated just like conventional mobile and fixed-line services and therefore need licensing."

3994 days ago
Kevin Capozzi

Business runs on transportation and communication. Without both of those businesses will find a spot where they can get them at the right price. The ban of VoIP is a hidden tax, and as the poll shows, inhibits business here. So what is the real win for the telecoms? It is actually a loss as businesses choose other locales and buy mobile airtime and fixed lines there instead of here. The second order effects of non market initiatives are significant but often overlooked. Fighting against the Internet- can't think of any instances of anyone who has won that battle. Since there are workarounds like VPN services, the ban tends to be ineffective anyhow. How about 'unbanning' VoIP and instead concentrating on providing something closer to the world average braodband access speed of 8.8 mBPS, instead of the snail speed that we pay so dearly for. Lack of infrastructure will devalue the precious real estate here.

3999 days ago
Kathy Smith

why do they ban the voice over IP websites? don't they know that voice over IP is important? im wondering really why do they have to it...?

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