Is it? Isn’t it?

First, WhatsApp voice and video calls appeared to have been enabled in the UAE. Then the block was promptly reinstated. Now, Skype is the latest video chat service to be causing a headache in the UAE.

A number of users have taken to Twitter to vent their frustration, as they encountered significant issues when trying to contact friends and family over the long weekend. Other users, including some members of the What’s On team, have still been able to use the app as normal.

Skype has responded to messages on Twitter by sharing an old post from its support page, which confirmed the service is blocked in the UAE.

“It has been brought to our attention that our website and services have been blocked by both of the ISPs in the United Arab Emirates,” the post read. “That means you won’t be able to use Skype in the United Arab Emirates.

“Unfortunately, there is very little Skype can do about this situation. The best course of action would be for you to speak to your ISP and ask why they are blocking Skype and request that they unblock our site and services.”

The post appears to be from 2015, when Skype was previously blocked in the UAE. However, the ban was later reversed, and users in this part of the world have enjoyed relatively consistent service… until now, it seems.

Du has directed queries to the UAE’s Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA).

The TRA has yet to post a specific statement about the latest issue, but has instead referred users to an old post on its website (also from 2015), which says this:

“Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) are considered part of the UAE’s regulated activities. The TRA has granted licensed operators the eligibility to provide such services across their networks. Companies wishing to provide such services should coordinate with the UAE’s licensed service providers in this regard.”

Some have speculated whether the issues with Skype have anything to do with the temporary unblocking of WhatsApp on Thursday.

There has also been some suggestion that the outage was the result of a cyber-attack, with disruptions reported all over the world.

In any case, with it being Eid week, the timing is definitely unfortunate. We’ll keep you updated as soon as we know more.

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