Move over voice notes…

Several local news outlets have reported that WhatsApp users in the UAE have today, Thursday February 6, had success when using WhatsApp voice and video calls, signalling that the service might finally have been unblocked on the popular messaging application.

After numerous tests in the What’s On Dubai HQ this afternoon, a number of both successful and unsuccessful video calls were made within our office. There doesn’t seem to be any patterns between which phones or network providers offer the most successful call results.

It also seems that the WhatsApp calls and videos are only available for UAE to UAE at present, as we haven’t yet been able to make successful international calls or video calls via the app.

You might also like

RTA announce temporary disruptions to Dubai Metro services

Currently, Skype, WhatsApp and Snapchat calls are all banned in the UAE under the country’s Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) policy, with the only VoIP apps available to use in Dubai and the UAE are Botim and C’Me. Both of these are paid for services offered by du and Etisalat respectively. Totok is another free app which offers video calling to UAE users.

In November 2019, What’s On reported that the UAE may lift the ban on WhatsApp after the head of the country’s digital security authority, Mohamed Al Kuwaiti, said in an interview with CNBC that the UAE was working closely with tech platforms such as WhatsApp on a number of national security initiatives.

According to CNBC, Al Kuwaiti, who is executive director of the UAE’s National Electronic Security Authority, said: “There might be a lift of that ban for (WhatsApp) voice calls… and this is going to happen soon, this is what we know and understand from the telecommunication authority here in the UAE.”

In April 2018, it was reported that the UAE’s Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) was in talks with both Microsoft and Apple to look at the possibility of lifting restrictions on services like Skype and FaceTime.

Watch this space…

Images: Getty