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Free video calling app ToTok no longer available in the UAE

Free video calling app ToTok no longer available in the UAE

Currently, all free voice over internet protocol (VoIP) services including Skype and WhatsApp calls are blocked in the UAE

ToTok, a free app for making video and voice calls which was recently launched in the UAE, has now been removed from Google Play and the Apple App Store.

The app received attention in the UAE after those using Botim – a video and voice call app – received a message earlier this month stating that the company agreed to provide services under the ToTok brand.

Botim currently offers services for a fee in the UAE.

Currently, all free international voice over internet protocol (VoIP) services including Skype and WhatsApp calls are blocked in the UAE as per regulations issued by the Telecoms Regulatory Authority (TRA).

However, a growing list of supported video/audio calling apps in the UAE include C’Me, HiU, Yzer and Voico – along with Botim.

There has been no statement from Etisalat or du about ToTok and it is not clear if the app has also been banned.

There were reports earlier this year that the country’s telecoms regulator was in talks with US technology firms Apple and Microsoft towards the potential re-enabling of FaceTime and Skype.

Read: UAE’s telecoms regulator in talks to lift Skype, FaceTime ban

The ban on WhatsApp calls could also be lifted soon, a senior cyber security official recently said.

Mohamed Al Kuwaiti, executive director of the UAE’s National Electronic Security Authority, told CNBC earlier this month that the UAE was collaborating closely with big tech platforms such as Facebook-owned WhatsApp.

“There might be a lift of that ban for (WhatsApp) voice calls… and this is going to happen soon, this is what we know and understand from the telecommunication authority here in the UAE.”

Several senior businessmen have also urged the UAE to lift the ban.

Read: Dubai businessman Khalaf Al Habtoor urges for end to Skype ban in UAE

The UAE is one of the few countries in the Gulf region where Skype, FaceTime and other VoIP apps are still blocked after Saudi Arabia lifted its ban in September 2017.

The kingdom said it would allow apps that satisfy regulatory requirements to function but would monitor calls.

Read: Saudi lifts Skype, WhatsApp ban, but will censor calls

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