Oman government unblocks some VoIP services
Some VoIP services unblocked in Oman, but Skype still shut
Oman' telecoms authorities have reportedly unblocked some voice-over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services, allowing web users to take advantage of cheap international communication networks, the Muscat Daily has reported.
Sites such as Google Talk, Viber, FaceTime and MSN Messenger have apparently been accessable since last Wednesday, though no official announcement has been made by the operators or the country's Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA).
Web users reported that a number of new services were now available, but Skype - arguably the most popular VoIP service - was still blocked.
Telcos were unavailable for comment, but sources unofficially confirmed to the newspaper that the TRA had directed operators to ease restrictions on some VoIP services.
Analysts believe the move by Oman will pave the way for cheap international communication and provide a boost for small and medium enterprises.
Other Gulf states, such as the UAE, are yet to allow VoIP services.
Local operators Etisalat and du have also spoken out against permitting VoIP, which they say would hurt their revenues.
International calls are a lucrative business for the operators, more so considering the UAE's majority expat population.
However, the telcos are thought to be in discussions about the possibility of offering VoIP services as a bolt-on.