UAE blocks Skype amid internet calling uncertainty

Last week, the video and audio calling features of messaging app WhatsApp began working again in the country



Microsoft-owned internet calling service Skype has been blocked again in the UAE amid confusion regarding the status of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) communications in the country.

Last week, the video and audio calling features of messaging app WhatsApp began working again in the UAE having previously been blocked shortly after the service was introduced. Calls were blocked again the following day.

Read: WhatsApp calls not blocked in the UAE, but VoIP remains illegal

In a statement on its website, Skype said it been brought to its attention that both its website and services had been blocked by both internet service providers in the UAE.

“That means you won’t be able to use Skype in the United Arab Emirates,” the company said.

“Unfortunately, there is very little Skype can do about this situation. The best course of action would be for you to speak to your ISP and ask why they are blocking Skype and request that they unblock our site and services.”

Users spoke of their frustration on social media after finding the service unusable over the Eid Al Fitr weekend as they tried to call family and friends.

Some commentators speculated that the blocking of Skype was related to the short return of WhatsApp calling on Thursday.

This could have led the TRA to ensure that other similar VoIP services were not available via telecoms operators Du and Etisalat.

On the same day WhatsApp calls became available, the Telecoms Regulatory Authority issued a statement clarifying that “there is no change” in the UAE’s Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) policy.

“TRA reconfirms that any applications or services of this type must comply with the applicable regulatory framework in the country,” it added.

Read: WhatsApp calls not blocked in the UAE, but VoIP remains illegal

It had previously been reported by some UAE publications that connection issues with the Skype service were linked to a cyber attack, launched on June 19 by hacking group CyberTeam.

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