Thousands using 'illegal' Skype on mobile in UAE - paper

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SKYPE BAN: The UAE is one of only four countries that do not allow Skype software to be downloaded. (Getty Images)

SKYPE BAN: The UAE is one of only four countries that do not allow Skype software to be downloaded. (Getty Images)

Thousands of Apple iPhone users in the UAE are flouting the country’s law by using the popular free-calling software Skype, according to a report.

According to the Abu Dhabi-based The National daily, many iPhone users are breaking the law as the country’s telecoms regulator has banned Skype for Apple’s hand-held devices.

Though the Skype application is freely available on Apple’s iTunes store in the UAE and will work on iPhones connected to Etisalat or du services, the ban issued in 2006 by the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) still remains in place, The National said,

According to the daily, the TRA has said: “If a third party application, such as Skype, is available for download from iTunes or any other website, it does not mean that it’s legal to use. Furthermore, the licensees have the right to block the illegal traffic of the application.”

Rouzbeh Pasha, the head of Skype for the Middle East and Africa, told The National that the only way the iPhone application would not be available in the UAE was if the regulator said no one in the country could have access to the iTunes store.

“As long as the App Store is available, Skype and other applications will be there as well,” Mr Pasha said. “This is part of the [Skype’s] ecosystem. Soon you’ll have Panasonic and Sony television sets that will have Skype built in.”

The UAE is one of only four countries that do not allow Skype software to be downloaded and block access to the company’s website. North Korea, Oman and Kuwait are the others, according to The National.

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Please post responsibly. Commenter Rules

Posted by: NAIVE

wherever govt interest is involved in any business the profibality of that business is protected by such means like blocking VOIP blocking of dirty internet sites is understable & appreciable but surely not appreciable blocking of VOIP just for more profits

Posted by: Baba

What TRA is trying to say is that by blocking the skype website, it does not automatically mean it's illegal. PC to PC calls has never been illegal in UAE. it is only when you hook up Eisalat landlines to IP network it is illegal

Posted by: GD

This is news to me that Skype is blocked - I have been using it on my laptop since I got here 2 years ago! All I did was download it as normal, i didnt have to get a round any type of block

Posted by: Peter

I find is so funny that the monopolies are trying to ban Skype in the UAE, for obvious reasons, of course. Trying to block the continuous wave of technology advances is like trying to stop a flood with a barrier of paper. The people behind the ban must be getting so stressed out because they can't stop change, whatever they do or say.

Posted by: Bob

Another one of the many many many resons I moved my business to Singapore, but when I visit the UAE I use Skype exclusively. It is so easy to bypass the amateurish blocks. Wake-up its 2010

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