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Etisalat unblocks Skype

UAE telco makes announcement on Facebook page regarding access to VoIP service

Etisalat unblocks Skype
Etisalat has traditionally referred to Skype as ‘unlicensed VoIP’.

Etisalat, the UAE's incumbent telecom operator, said its customers can now access the Skype website.

The telco made the announcement in a brief message on its Facebook page. Although Etisalat had previously blocked access to Skype's website, the VoIP service was widely used by customers who already had the software installed on their computer or mobile device, and could therefore access the service freely.

The statement followed closely from reports that du had opened up access to Skype.com, although the telco later denied that it had changed its policy towards the VoIP service.

Skype, which is owned by Microsoft, is encrypted in such as way that it should be accessible anywhere on a device that already has the software installed. However, in the UAE, certain parts of the service, such as calls from Skype to landlines, were barred.

Etisalat and du already offer low-cost VoIP calls via calling cards available at their retail outlets. However, these products have not been promoted and awareness remains limited.

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