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Skype reacts to TRA's VoIP stance

Skype MEA boss says prices will remain high until 'real competition' is introduced

Until real competition is introduced in the UAE communications market, prices will remain high and few new services will be deployed" - Pasha
Until real competition is introduced in the UAE communications market, prices will remain high and few new services will be deployed" - Pasha

The head of Skype MEA Rouzbeh Pasha has called the TRA's updated VoIP policy in the UAE a 'small step' in advancing the country's communications market.

Any company that wishes to offer VoIP services in the country needs to be licensed by the TRA or explore partnerships with the four existing 'licensees' that include Etisalat and Du.

The TRA clarified that voice calls provided by Skype are a 'regulated activity' and that using the software to place calls over the Internet is considered illegal at this stage.

"TRA's decision to allow UAE's two incumbents to provide basic IP based communications is a small step in advancing UAE's communications market," said Pasha. "However, in advanced markets like the US, UK, France, Germany and Australia, no license is required to provide IP-based communications. Until real competition is introduced in the UAE communications market, prices will remain high and few new services will be deployed."

The VoIP policy however has exemptions for a ‘Closed Group Network' where calls originate and terminate in the UAE itself, or when it exists for a ‘Public Interest Purpose'. This could include educational situations for recognised academic institutions as well reasons that benefit government entities.

"In the IP world, there is no reason to distinguish between domestic and international calling. All traffic originates on and travels over the global public Internet irrespective of call origin and destination. All calls are, by the very nature of the Internet, international," added Pasha.