Residents complain of disruptions to Skype service
Skype users are complaining about disruptions to service amid reports that the phone and video service has been blocked by the telecoms regulator.
Some users complained on Twitter that service had been disrupted, while others followed up on recent statements by telecoms provider Etisalat that Skype “had been blocked”.
“The access to the Skype App is blocked since it is providing an unlicensed voice over internet protocol service, which falls under the classification of prohibited contents,” an Etisalat spokesman responded to one complaint on its Twitter account.
Skype told several users with similar complaints that the matter was “out of its hands” and urged them to contact their service providers.
The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority referred to its 2015 clarification. “Voice over internet protocol are considered part of the UAE’s regulated activities,” the authority said. “The TRA has granted licensed operators the eligibility to provide such services across their networks.
“Companies wishing to provide such services should co-ordinate with the UAE’s licensed service providers in this regard.”
Du, the other telecoms provider in the UAE, said that “any unauthorised applications or services providing voice over internet protocol calling services were not supported in the UAE” and referred users to its own voice-calling app.
The conflicting reports over the use of Skype comes after recent campaigns by Etisalat to promote its own apps, which are available for a monthly fee.
Skype, which has 70 million users worldwide, was reported to have been inaccessible to users in June, to the frustration of expatriates who use the free app to make calls overseas.
Skype had then urged users to request providers to unblock the service.
The UAE has been wary of allowing access to internet call services because of security concerns.
WhatsApp’s call feature has been blocked since it was launched last November, as have other internet calling services from sites such as Viber, Snapchat and Facebook.
The popular in-game voice chat app Discord has also been blocked.
None of the call functions are licensed.
Skype told several users with similar complaints that the matter was ‘out of its hands’