Khalaf Al Habtoor calls for unblocking of video calls

Influential Emirati businessman calls for UAE to open WhatsApp video calls

Tags: United Arab Emirates
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Khalaf Al Habtoor calls for unblocking of video calls Al Habtoor has called on the UAE to stop blocking WhatsApp calls. (Getty Images)
By  Mark Sutton Published  September 9, 2018

Emirati businessman Khalaf Al Habtoor has called for the UAE to remove the ban on WhatsApp video calls and similar services.

The free-to-use video calling service is banned in the UAE, along with services such as Skype.

In a tweet today, Al Habtoor, chairman of the Al Habtoor Group, said that a country like the UAE that aims to be a leader in everything should not be left behind on communicatons.

Al Habtoor wrote: "In a country like #UAE, where we aim to always be pioneers in all we do, #WhatsAppCall should not banned when it is accessible everywhere else in the world. I urge mobile carriers in the UAE to lift the ban, a service free to use in the top nations of the world.

In a video tweet, Al Habtoor noted that free video call services are in use all over the world, and requested that the block be removed.

The status of video calling services is unclear, with sporadic blocking and workarounds to enable the service having been the norm since the rise of Skype in the early ‘noughties'.

The UAE Telecommunications Regulatory Authority has said it is up to operators to offer such services, inline with the regulations of the country. Neither operator in the duopoly has done such a deal with the most popular free services however, instead preferring to the launch their own paid-for alternatives, to underwhelming response.

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