Skype access could be returning to UAE soon

EXCLUSIVE: Telecoms regulator is developing framework for VoIP operators in the region.

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By  Amy Glass Published  September 8, 2008

UAE residents longing to regain access to popular internet phone service Skype could eventually see their wish granted, the head of the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) has announced.

Mohamed Al Ghanim, director general of the TRA, told Arabian Business that Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services had been unlicensed in the UAE since the TRA began operations in 2004.

“Customers and even those (VoIP) companies think that we are blocking them, but we are not blocking them – we are putting a process together for those companies to be licenced and this will take some time. There are challenges associated with it.

“When we licence a company in the UAE, we make sure they have a presence, so if you pay your bill and the company does not provide you with a service, there is a way to recover your money. Customers need to be protected.

“There are many issues to be considered. For example, some of those companies provide very bad voice quality. If you are providing telecom services you have to be licensed as per the UAE Telecom Law," he said.

Popular website Skype allows users to make cheap international phone calls via the internet, rather than fixed phone lines.

Al Ghanim said the TRA was developing a framework for VoIP providers.

“Once we finish our work, then these providers can come to the UAE. We are working on it and we will announce it in due time.”

Meanwhile, Etisalat and Du are licenced to provide some aspects of VoIP services to their customers, he added.

3939 days ago

You can still set up web connect like calls using products like AIM Call Out. It calls one phone then connects it to the other. So that you are not using the typical PC to phone set up. Its a novel way at getting low rates. Plus the quality is pretty good!

3939 days ago

TRA blocked all voip services since 2004 and its taking them 5 years to come up with a "framework" and licensing procedures? How bold they are to come up with an unbelievable reason like this! I say WHATEVER!! I will continue to use voIP through other means!

3940 days ago

I agree entirely. End the Telecoms Duopoly.

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