Video calling service provider Skype is used by many people all around the world - including businesses - to connect and communicate. With this in mind, many users within the United Arab Emirates (UAE) were disappointed to find that Skype had been blocked in the country, meaning users were unable to make or receive calls using the service.
But why has it been blocked? Skype is a form of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), which allows cheap or free calls to be made via an internet connection. Under regulation by the country's Telecommunications Regulation Authority (TRA), only the UAE's two internet service providers - Etisalat and Du - are permitted to offer VoIP services in the UAE.
The decision to block Skype was made by these providers, with no clear reason given why. A statement available on the Skype website reads:
"It has been brought to our attention that our website and services have been blocked by the ISPs in the United Arab Emirates. That means you won't be able to use Skype in the United Arab Emirates.
We are working towards getting Skype re-enabled. We're passionate about the benefit that Skype offers to our users around the world by facilitating communication and enabling collaboration."
The UAE first banned Skype in January 2018, and while there have been reports of discussions to get the ban lifted, there has been no change to date. For businesses inside and outside the UAE who rely on Skype to contact clients and partners across the globe, this has made communication difficult, with many seeking Skype alternatives in the UAE.
Some people may attempt to access Skype by alternative methods, such as using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to access the service via a connection to a remote server in a country where it is permitted. However, the TRA website states:
"Any person using VoIP services which are not provided by a licensee [aka Etisalat or Du]... may be committing a criminal offence."
Clearly, this approach isn't advised, especially for a business who has a reputation to protect. It is in a company's best interest to invest in a dedicated conference call service provider, rather than trying to make free, non-tailored services work for your business.
Meetupcall offers a conference call service in Dubai and the UAE more widely. We have payment plans priced in dirhams which allow you to make calls to delegates in over 60 countries around the world from just 1AED per minute, or for more frequent users our Dubai based Enterprise team can tailor a package to suit your particular business needs.
Furthermore, unlike other providers that may restrict your functionality, we have a number of handy tools that can help you get the most from your conference call, including:
Using a conference call service like Meetupcall ensures your business is presented professionally. Relying on free video call services that aren't primarily designed for conference calling suggests your business may be prone to cut costs which, if you're holding initial talks with a high-profile potential partner, could leave them wondering whether you're the right choice.
As your business grows, these free video calling services will likely no longer meet your needs. Meetupcall can grow with your business, as we already have the international presence you need for your expansion.
In the wake of the ban, businesses may be looking for Skype alternatives in the UAE but when we look at the problem more critically, it becomes clear that this may not necessarily be the best option. Rather, companies should sign up to a conference call service that will support their business both now and in the future.
To find out how Meetupcall can help you do that, call us today on (+971) 8000 3577 0129 or sign up for a free 14-day trial.