UAE eases restrictions on internet calls to contain virus

The UAE will permit companies to use Microsoft Teams and Zoom applications that allow virtual conferencing



The United Arab Emirates lifted restrictions on some programs that allow voice calls over the Internet for companies on a case-by-case basis to help people work from home and avoid spreading the coronavirus, people familiar with the matter said.

The UAE, the Middle East’s business and travel hub, will permit companies to use Microsoft Teams and Zoom applications that allow virtual conferencing, the people said, asking not to be identified. The country’s Telecommunications Regulatory Authority couldn’t be reached for comment.

The Gulf state, where 85 per cent of the population are foreigners, blocks most applications that allow free voice calls over the Internet, such as Microsoft Corp.’s Skype, Facebook’s WhatsApp and Apple’s FaceTime.

The curbs have long been a grievance for expatriates who want to keep in touch with family and friends back home and work remotely.