Home / Cyber cafes threatened with prison

Cyber cafes threatened with prison

Cafes providing internet telephony face jail if they continue to offer services, Oman's regulator has warned.

Cafés providing internet telephony face jail if they continue to offer services, Oman’s regulator has warned.

The sultanate’s Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) is cracking down on the offering of basic voice over internet protocol (VoIP) services by cyber cafés, which it said are doing so illegally.

“The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority noticed lately that a number of internet cyber cafés offer basic voice service through the internet provided by foreign companies that are not licensed to provide telecom services in the Sultanate,” the TRA said in a statement last week.

This is a violation of the Telecommunications Regulatory Act issued by Royal Decree No. 30/2002, the TRA said, which stipulates that no person is permitted to establish or operate a telecommunications system nor provide telecommunications services unless it has obtained a licence to do so.

Omantel is the only provider licensed to offer voice services in the sultanate.

Penalties for offenders include up to two years in jail and fines of up to US$123,000, the TRA said.

The ban is likely to most heavily hit expatriate workers from the Indian sub-continent — a large number of who work in the country on low salaries.

While VoIP has enjoyed rapid growth in recent years, thanks in part to the success of VoIP providers such as Skype, its use is still heavily proscribed in the Middle East.

Regulators are reluctant to permit the use of VoIP, in order to protect the incumbent operators.

VoiP is still not permitted in the UAE, despite recent reports the UAE regulatory authority was considering lifting the ban.

Follow us to get the most comprehensive technology news in UAE delivered fresh from our social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, and listen to our Weekly Podcast. Click here to sign up for our weekly newsletter on curated technology news in the Middle East and Worldwide.

REGISTER NOW | Webinar Event | Security you can bank on – Safeguarding the Middle East’s financial sector

Presented in partnership with security and network specialist Cybereason, the second in the three part webinar series will bring together a panel of experts to discuss how banks and financial institutions are evolving their service offering while simultaneously staying one step ahead of the cyber criminals who seek to bring their operations crashing to the ground.