There is a commotion building in UAE over the new Skype-powered internet calling services offered by Facebook.
Standalone Skype software has been banned for years in the UAE, but questions remain whether the same ban applies to internet calling offered within the Facebook platform.
Earlier this month, Facebook unveiled the tie-up with Skype to bolster free services offered to its 750 million users around the globe, sparking debate once again in the UAE where voice over internet protocol services (VoIP) are illegal.
Gulf News contacted the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) for clarification and it reiterated its earlier position that VoiP services are regulated and can only be offered by licensed operators.
The TRA did not respond directly to the Facebook question.
Currently, only du and eisalat are licensed to offer such services in the UAE and operate under the country’s telecom law federal law 3 of 2003.