UAE telecoms companies block Skype, again

UAE telecoms companies block Skype, again
Skype has been blocked by the UAE's leading telecoms giants again, due to its 'unlicensed Voice over Internet Protocol' services.
2 min read
31 December, 2017
Skype has been used by expats to circumvent costly overseas call charges [AFP]

Online calling platform Skype has been blocked in the UAE, due to the telecoms giant not meeting local rules on calls via the internet.

The UAE's leading telecommunications companies Du and Etisalat both blocked access to the application and site, saying Skype's services were illegal.

"The access to the Skype App is blocked since it is providing unlicensed Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) Service, which falls under the classification of prohibited contents as per the United Arab Emirates' Regulatory Framework," Etisalat UAE said on Twitter.

Qatar has also blocked the service, according to Skype.

"It has been brought to our attention that our website and services have been blocked by the ISPs in the United Arab Emirates and Qatar," the group said on their website. 

"That means you won't be able to use Skype in the United Arab Emirates or Qatar."

Rival Du also appears to have blocked the Skype service for customers in the UAE.

"Please note that any unauthorized applications or services that are providing VoIP calling services are not supported in UAE," the telecommunications company said on Twitter.

Both companies offer VoIP services, but for a monthly fee, Gulf News reported.

UAE's government has claimed that Skype is blocked for security reasons. Many believe the real reason is that Skype's free-to-use video calling means telecommunications companies would lose out. 

Most Gulf countries with large numbers of expatriates have blocked Skype, along with WhatsApp and other calling services.

Local officials have considered permanently lifting the restrictions.