UAE’s Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) has declared that the country’s Telecommunications Law and the TRA’s VoIP regulatory policy allow only Etisalat and Du to provide telecoms services, including internet telephony. Non-licensees are prohibited from offering telecoms services, and the TRA stressed that this policy has not been amended. The issue has come to the forefront recently, with reports suggesting that Etisalat had unblocked access to Skype.
The TRA went on to say: ‘As to what the licensees have done in unblocking Skype’s website in the UAE, this action does not change the position of the TRA or amend the policy as this service is considered a Regulated Activity, therefore, it must be provided by a licensee. Should the service be provided through a partnership with a third party, both Licensees must seek approval to provide such service after fulfilling the regulatory and technical requirements of the TRA, which has not happened in the case of Skype. VoIP services through Skype are still unauthorised.’