Skype block drops for du subscribers. Clients can download and open accounts [National, The (United Arab Emirates)]
(National, The (United Arab Emirates) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Subscribers to du´s fixed and mobile internet connections yesterday found they were able to access Skype calls to mobile phones and landlines.
Although the block to the Skype website previously made it difficult to install the service on computers in the UAE, it was available for smartphones from foreign-based applications shops, and once installed it was possible to make voice and video calls. ¬ Etisalat users are still blocked from accessing the website or making Skype-to-phone calls. ¬ Those who try to access the site find the message: »Access to this site is currently blocked. The site falls under the Prohibited Content Categories of the UAE´s Internet Access Management Policy.« ¬ But du subscribers sail straight through to Skype´s homepage where they can sign up for an account, add credit and download the application. ¬ It was unclear when the block was lifted, although discussions on several internet forums indicate this is not the first time it has happened. ¬ It is also unclear whether it was permanent, or whether it was an intentional move by du. ¬ Worldwide, Skype has more than 31 million registered users and the attraction of free international Skype-to-Skype calling is clear for the UAE´s expatriate majority. ¬ Although it is classified by the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority as an »unlicensed VOIP« (voice over internet protocol) service, the TRA has since 2011 stated there is nothing stopping du and Etisalat from licensing Skype or similar services. ¬ The TRA website states the use of such software may be illegal unless permission is sought from the licensee, in this case Etisalat or du. ¬ But it adds: »There are no regulatory or legal barriers to the licensees providing VoIP services, nor is there any specific requirement for the licensees to offer VoIP services within a certain time frame. ¬ »We suggest that specific questions about the timing or type of VoIP service offerings be addressed to the licensees.« ¬ Etisalat, however, said on its Twitter feed,firstname.lastname@example.org@ For more on TELECOMMUNICATIONS, visit thenational.ae/topics
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