Microsoft 'hopeful' of overturning UAE Skype ban

It could mean an end to a block on video-calling apps

Microsoft 'hopeful' of overturning UAE Skype ban

Microsoft bosses have admitted they are “hopeful” of overturning the ban on Skype services in the UAE.

Currently, video-calling technology such as WhatsApp, Facebook, Viber and Snapchat are restricted here.

Instead of using these free services, residents here often turn to paid-for alternatives from local telecoms providers such as Etisalat.

But Microsoft has been deep in discussions with UAE telecoms officials in a bid to open Skype up to UAE residents once more.

In a statement to The National today (Thursday), a Microsoft spokesman said: “We are passionate about the benefits that Skype offers to our users around the world by facilitating communication and enabling collaboration.”

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Skype was first blocked in the UAE in January, leaving many users unable to video-call loved ones across the world.

UAE officials cited concerns over the security of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services such as Skype or WhatsApp video calling.

According to the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority, anyone using unlicensed services such as Skype “may be committing a criminal offence”.

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