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Oman lifts curbs on some internet call apps to counter virus

Oman lifts curbs on some internet call apps to counter virus

Some Gulf states restrict the use of video calling services because they are encrypted

Oman is lifting curbs on internet tools like Microsoft Corp’s Skype for Business, Google Meet and Zoom to help companies and schools hold remote meetings and classes that could stem the spread of the coronavirus.

The decision was made “due to exceptional circumstances,” the Gulf state’s Telecommunications Regulatory Authority wrote on its Twitter feed on Tuesday.

Some Gulf states restrict the use of video calling services because they are encrypted, making them difficult for security services to track. They also provide competition to domestic telecommunications providers.

In Oman’s neighbor, the United Arab Emirates, a ban on free voice calls over the internet has long been a grievance for expatriates who want to keep in touch with family and friends back home, as well as for people seeking to work more flexibly in the Middle East’s business hub.

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