The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority is in talks with Microsoft and Apple

Free online calling services like Skype and FaceTime are banned in the UAE under the country’s Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) policy, but that could be about to change.

The UAE’s Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) is reportedly in talks with Microsoft and Apple to look at the possibility of lifting restrictions on the services.

TRA director general Hamad Obaid Al Mansoori told Arabic newspaper Al Ittihad that discussions around the issue were “ongoing”.

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He emphasised the need to maintain strong ties with the tech giants as they continue to expand in the UAE.

“Microsoft has launched for the first time two data centres in the UAE and that cover the entire Middle East,” he said, according to a translation by The National. 

Currently, only Etisalat and Du are licensed to offer VoIP services in the UAE.

The TRA says on its website: “Any person using VoIP services which are not provided by a licensee… may be committing a criminal offence.”

Al Mansoori also highlighted the high number of subscribers for local VoIP services, BOTIM and C’Me. Both of these services are paid.

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