UAE’s Du unblocks voice chat feature for some games

The UAE’s telecoms regulator is reportedly in talks to also lift bans on Skype and FaceTime



UAE telecoms provider Du has unblocked the in-game voice chat feature for a number of online video games.

What’s On cited a Du community forum post as confirming the chat feature had been enabled for popular online games including Fortnite, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, Overwatch, Destiny, Strike of King, League of Legends, Evony and Respanable.

Gamers responding to the post confirmed the block had been lifted for the games on PC and PlayStation 4 but there were some teething issues with others, according to the publication.

The UAE’s operators block all forms of third party voice over internet protocol (VoIP) communication under the country’s telecoms laws.

Popular services such as Microsoft’s Skype and Apple’s Facetime are unavailable in the emirates, as well as the voice chat features in apps such as Whatsapp, Instagram and Snapchat.

However, the availability of in-game chat functions may give expats hope that similar measures will follow for other services.

A UAE newspaper cited Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) director general Hamad Obaid Al Mansouri as confirming in April that the regulator was in talks with Apple and Microsoft to have the ban on their services lifted.

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

The talks followed the launch of paid VoIP apps by Du and its rival Etisalat earlier this year, coinciding with a crackdown that has seen access to Skype and FaceTime blocked completely.

Read: UAE Skype users complain of service disruption

The UAE is one of the few countries in the Gulf region where VoIP apps are still unavailable after Saudi Arabia lifted its ban last September.

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

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