VoIP ban remains for now

11 Mar 2008

Gulf News reports that the UAE’s ban on voice-over-internet protocol (VoIP) is to continue for the time being. The Telecoms Regulatory Authority (TRA) and incumbent telco Etisalat have gone to great lengths to prevent the use of the technology, including blocking provider websites (such as Skype.com and Vonage.com), and installing sentry programmes on the network to prevent calls being made. According to Mohammad Al Ganem, director general of the TRA, if VoIP services are to be permitted, they will be allowed only through the two licensed telecoms players in the country, Etisalat and Du. ‘VoIP for everyone is still under consultation. No time frame can be set on when that’s going to be allowed…We are doing a lot of consultation and we are looking into what’s happening around the world with regard to VoIP. However, we are taking it very seriously,’ said Al Ghanem, adding, ‘Once we finish with the industry consultation, we will look at it.’