Messenger’s video-chat did not get UAE launch: Facebook

Reports of UAE debut for Skype competitor are false, social media firm tells ITP.net

Tags: Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company Emirates Telecommunications Corporation InternationalFacebook IncorporationTelecommunications Regulatory Authority - UAEUnited Arab Emirates
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Messenger’s video-chat did not get UAE launch: Facebook UAE telecoms regulations prevent non-licensed entities from providing voice-over-IP (VoIP) services such as Skype and Facebook Messenger’s video-chat.
By  Stephen McBride Published  June 23, 2015

Facebook's Messenger video-calling service did not receive a special launch in the UAE, the social media company told ITP.net, contradicting earlier reports that the would-be Skype-thwarter had debuted in the country.

Yesterday, UAE daily The National reported that the Messenger extension, launched worldwide in April to compete with VoIP services such as Microsoft's Skype, had been "introduced" in the UAE. This followed an earlier report from Emirates 24-7, which quoted a Facebook "media statement": "Today, we're introducing video calling in Messenger. Now you can have face-to-face conversations with your friends and the people you care about, via Messenger."

But a Dubai-based Facebook spokesperson told this website: "This was a global launch and we had no press event or specific announcement in the UAE."

UAE telecoms regulations prevent non-licensed entities from providing voice-over-IP (VoIP) services in the Gulf nation. As the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) has explained in the past, Etisalat and du are permitted to provide such services. If OTT (over the top) offerings, such as Skype or Facebook Messenger's video-chat, are to launch in the UAE it would have to be with their co-operation. However, neither du nor Etisalat have, as yet, indicated a willingness to explore such options.

At the time of writing, the TRA could not be reached for comment.

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