There is bad news for Snapchat fans in the UAE, where Du and Etisalat have blocked its’s recently revealed voice and video calling feature. According to the telcos, these services UAE’s violate voice communications and multimedia sessions over Internet Protocol (VoIP) regulations.
Snapchat users who have recently updated their apps would have found that they could now talk or video chat with other users. However, because UAE regulations heavily limit the use of internet-based telecom services to those permitted by Du and Etisalat, this feature will now not work.
People will however still have access to Snapchat’s regular features.
In a statement to local media, a spokesperson for Du said, “Companies wishing to provide [VoIP] services should coordinate with the UAE’s licensed service providers in this regard.”
Etisalat issued a similar response to Arabic media.
This isn’t the only feature of its kind to be hit by UAE telecom restrictions.
In 2013, the Telecoms Regulatory Authority announced that Du and Etisalat licensees were the only ones able to provide voice over internet protocol services.
In April last year, Whatsapp’s voice call update was blocked by the operators, citing the VoIP regulation. Apple’s FaceTime voice and video communications services are also not installed (by default) on the company’s smartphones sold in the UAE.
Skype is the only video calling service in the country that works when connected to Du’s WiFi.
In February 2015, du chief executive Osman Sultan was quoted as saying that the telecoms operators restricted the usage of VoIP services to protect their huge network investments.
“The use of VoIP creates an economical issue. Skype is not blocked. Of course we know people use it,” he told 7Days newspaper. “For certain usage of Skype [PC-to-PC], it is allowed. But making phone calls through Skype directly, in principal, is not allowed.”