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Mon 15 Mar 2010 03:34 PM

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UAE restricts VoIP to local firms - regulator

No licences for firms like Skype will be issued 'for the time being' - TRA executive.

UAE restricts VoIP to local firms - regulator

The telecoms regulator in the UAE said on Monday that international companies will not be given licences yet for VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol).

"No licences for international companies like Skype for the time being, they can join existing licencees and have partnerships with them," Mohammed Gheyath, executive director for technology development affairs, Telecoms Regulatory Authority (TRA), told reporters.

Asked when the UAE would open up for foreign companies, he said, "there is no timeframe."

Currently, local operators Etisalat and Du as well as satellite firms Yahsat and Thuraya are licenced to offer VoIP, he said.

Local operators have been providing VoIP within the UAE but this could change by the year end.

"It is left to the service providers to start offering VoIP internationally. We hope they will start by this year end," he said. (Reuters)

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Punky Brewster 10 years ago

STILL no Timeframe?? Are the Telecoms afraid of losing revenues so soon? When will TRA really open up? How old school, to have foreign companies 'partner up' w/ local companies for VOIP..!! Change is bound to happen. Both teh telecoms rout their calls through VOIP, yet, when it comes to their customers, they are NOW willing to pass on the savings! Two words for the Telecoms - LET GO.

Jon 10 years ago

What a joke!!

Andy 10 years ago

I travel to China often and even in China they have VOIP services. I can use Skype in China to chat with my friends and family members overseas. It may not run perfect from within China but most of the time it works fine. A few friends of mine have Skype in China and 8 out 10 times it works perfectly fine. China as we know is communist and for the UAE to not allow Skype in Dubai shows that even in Communist China there may be more freedom allowed than in Dubai. These rules in the UAE need to change in order for Dubai to progress forward and encourage expatriate immigrants to consider living in Dubai. Many important issues,rules and regulations in Dubai have been being dragged on for ages now.

CJ 10 years ago

The UAE is just too expensive for basic IT services such as internet and telephone. Almost every other country in the world has stepped up their game in realisation of the benefits that increased VOIP and Internet use bring. Time the UAE did the same, or risk staying a 3rd world player in a 1st world game.

Mart 10 years ago

Dubai Internet City attempts to attract businesses with claims of a 21st century network. Then people find the reality that they can't use modern services like voip (which most modern businesses rely on), and instead have to pay 20cents a minute to speak to someone in the US or Europe down a traditional 20th century phone line. Combine that with the horrific rents in TECOM and they wonder why most Dubai office space lays empty? If you want business to thrive you have to take the shackles off it.

Sergay MacAndrew 10 years ago

Interesting as the need to attract foreign busnesses together with the relatively high spending workers they employ is still a priority. One supposes that show them the money and they shall come prevails. But at this moment show me the costs first before I take the plunge is equally relevant. The cost of international telephony is significantly higher in the UAE than in Europe, where even mobile companies for example in the UK, can offer packages with a call tariff of between 42 and 52 fils per minute to Dubai. Take away the business component and the cost for employees of keeping in touch with a family (75 per cent of the population in Dubai has recently been officially declared as male) is astronomical by comparison. VOIP has virtually become a civil right in most advanced economies, emails are not a personal communication medium and can never express true inflective sentiment, there is no substitute for person to person voice. VOIP allows it to happen. By all means let the Telco's sell their own VOIP kits to enable the medium as a bundled deal, if a plunge in profits is envisaged, but 21st century communications ideals should prevail. VOIP Telco branded dongles perhaps with an upper limit according to payment band. Time to think outside the box