UAE’s second largest telecom provider Du is open to offering voice over internet protocol (VoIP) services such as Skype and WhatsApp through its network if such services are offered in partnership with operators, it said this week.
Skype, which is available over fixed but not mobile internet connections in the UAE, stopped working a month ago in the UAE, though the service came back online a few days later. The outage came days after WhatsApp voice and video calling briefly became available in the UAE after previously having been restricted.
Du has no objection to allowing VoIP calling services over its network if formal agreements are in place between the networks and operators, Fahad Al Hassawi, Du’s chief commercial officer, told The National.
Networks including WhatsApp and Skype can partner with Du so that the right offering—that falls within the licensing requirements here in the UAE—can be made, said Al Hassawi.
There is an obligation to make sure that such services are offered, he said.
VoIP services, including video-calling, have been restricted in the UAE, with the Telecom Regulatory Authority (TRA) allowing only licensed providers to offer such services.
VoIP services are still a prerogative of the licensed providers who reserve the right to provide such services through their networks, according to TRA.
Companies wishing to offer such services must co-ordinate with the licensed telecom vendors in the UAE, according to the telecom regulator.
Users in UAE have been using other video calling services such as Snapchat and FaceTime.
While Apple’s iPhones available in the UAE do not have the FaceTime feature, many users have been paying more to buy iPhones from the gray market for availing the video-calling feature.
Several online marketplaces have been selling iPhones with and without FaceTime feature, netting a higher margin on the first version.