In January the UAE banned unlicensed VOIP services such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Facetime and also Skype.
The ban was ostensibly on security grounds, but free long-distance VOIP services can often cut into the revenue of local government-run telecom operators. Local media are now, however, reporting that Microsoft hopes the bans will soon be overturned.
The move is reportedly in the offing after Microsoft discussions with UAE telecoms officials, with Microsoft “hopeful” that a positive change is possible.
According to the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority at present anyone using unlicensed services such as Skype “may be committing a criminal offence.”
In a statement last week to The National newspaper, however, a Microsoft spokesman re-iterated that “We are passionate about the benefits that Skype offers to our users around the world by facilitating communication and enabling collaboration”.