Res­i­dents com­plain of dis­rup­tions to Skype ser­vice

The National - News - - NEWS - THE NA­TIONAL

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’

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