By Gavin Gibbon
Telecommunications Regulatory Authority says it's up to Du and Etisalat if apps will still be available post-coronavirus
A decision on whether restrictions on video call apps will resume in the UAE post-Covid-19 will be made by telecoms operators and not the regulator, according to local media reports.
A nationwide ban on Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) apps, including Microsoft Teams and Zoom, was lifted at the end of March as the country went into lockdown to curb the spread of coronavirus, with students shifting to e-learning and businesses implementing working from home.
At a virtual meeting of the Federal National Council (FNC) this week it was asked if the status quo would remain once the virus is brought under control and schools and businesses go back to normal.
Hamad Al Mansoori, director general of the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA), said: “The authority is not responsible for such apps. We are not in a position to answer the question about whether VoIPs will continue to be accessible [in the UAE] once the pandemic is over.”
Mira Al Suwaidi, an FNC member, stressed how important it was to keep the apps available, in order to support businesses through the difficult economic climate.
“If we want to attract more companies to boost the economy of the country, Du and Etisalat must co-operate with this regard,” she said.
In April, Du CEO Johan Dennelind revealed a 200 percent increase in its video streaming services, including Zoom, since the onset of the coronavirus outbreak.