Is Skype blocked in the UAE? Here’s everything we know…

Did you experience trouble calling over Christmas?

31 December 2017
by Stuff Staff

Microsoft’s Skype VoIP service has always had a contentious presence in the UAE but it still proves to be one of the most popular methods for expats to contact family and friends back home. This is especially true than during the busy festive and new year period.

However, customers of the UAE’s largest telecommunications operator Etisalat, faced major disruptions over the Christmas period when it appeared that the service had been blocked.

Etisalat responded to customer outcry via a tweet to its official Twitter account reiterating that Skype is indeed blocked in the UAE due to it providing unlicensed VoIP services prohibited by the country’s Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA).

Skype also took to Twitter to confirm the ban, linking to a website explaining that “there is very little Skype can do about this situation” and that users should contact their ISP to request that the service be unblocked.


Sadly, Skype is not the only VoIP app that suffers from being blocked in the UAE. Apple’s FaceTime is absent from any device from the Cupertino company purchased in the UAE, whilst WhatsApp’s video and voice calling functionality do not work on both Etisalat and fellow network provider du.

But there are other, legal ways of connecting with friends and family overseas. Both Etisalat and du have listed the VoIP apps Botim and C’Me as part of their ‘unlimited’ voice and video call service, making them officially sanctioned by both carriers as well as the TRA.

These apps function in much the same way as Skype or FaceTime, however they come with one major caveat – they charge a monthly fee for the privilege. Whether you think that fee is worth it is up to you.



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