TRA: no VoIP anarchy in the UAE. OK?

17 Mar 2015

The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has once again confirmed that voice-over-internet protocol (VoIP) services are only permitted if offered by, or under agreement with, one of the country’s two licensed telcos, Etisalat and Du. The regulator’s statement comes in the wake of an international launch of voice connectivity for users of the messaging application WhatsApp. Local news site Emirates 24/7 has revealed that Etisalat has already begun blocking WhatsApp voice calls, while Du is expected to follow suit soon. The TRA issued a similar statement of clarification last September after complaints that VoIP services such as Skype and Viber were being scrambled by the two UAE telcos. The UAE has a large expatriate community, and the large amount of international voice traffic generated by the foreign nationals is an important source of income for state-backed Etisalat and privately-owned operator Du.