It was less than two weeks after UAE residents complained that Skype service was blocked in the country, Etisalat has launched a new calling plan which helps the customers to use two voice over internet protocol (VoIP) apps.
This plan provides unlimited calling option from Etisalat. It includes two VoIP application – C’Me and BOTIM – for both iOS and Android devices. The plans are made available to Etisalat’s customers who are using prepaid, postpaid, and e-Life home broadband services for a fixed rate of AED 52.50 a month on mobile devices and AED 105 over a computer using the eLife account.
Etisalat said C’Me and BOTIM both meet the UAE’s regulatory framework necessities to operate in the country. The statement also added that new VoIP apps may be added if they meet the requirements.
Du offers similar internet calling packages, also offering C’ME and BOTIM as the only options.
UAE residents reported disruptions to their Skype VoIP services in January, which promoted Etisalat and du to warn that VoIP services remain regulated unless they meet the licensing requirements set by the country’s Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA).
A long-standing instruction on the website of the UAE’s Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) stated that VoIP services “are considered part of the UAE’s regulated activities.”
The statement added, “The TRA has granted licensed operators the eligibility to provide such services across their networks. Companies wishing to provide such services should coordinate with the UAE’s licensed service providers in this regard.”
The local media reported in April that UAE Federal National Council member Saeed Al Remeithi adviced the TRA to drop the ban, calling it an “embarrassment” for the UAE, which prompted TRA Director-General Hamad Al Mansouri to note that VoIP services are blocked for security and cybercrime concerns.
In the month of September, authorities in neighboring Saudi Arabia announced that voice and video calling apps would be “available widely” to residents in the kingdom. This initiative would reduce operational costs and encourage digital entrepreneurship says the country’s communications and technology ministry.
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