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UAE in Talks With Microsoft, Apple to Allow Skype, Facetime Calls

Microsoft has confirmed that it is in talks with UAE’s telecom to lift the ban on Skype. With unblocking of Skype and Facetime apps for cellphones and notepads, about 8 million of expats in the UAE are expected to benefit the most for incoming and outgoing free calls inland and overseas.

May 1, 2018 (BE2C2) — UAE’s Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) is holding discussions with software giants Microsoft and Apple to allow online call services through their popular apps, Skype and Face-time, respectively, in the country.

Presently, the popular free apps are not available for free use in the emirates, home to one of the world’s highest percentage of immigrants with 80 percent of its population comprising of expats.

According to a Al-Ittihad’s report on Sunday, Hamad Obaid Al Mansoori, Director General of the TRA said discussions were ongoing aimed at providing the services in UAE, emphasizing that their ties with the tech giants were ‘strong and stable’.

He added that as both firms are expanding their investments in UAE, with Microsoft opening – for the first time – two new data centers in the country.

Additionally, Apple has opened three stores in UAE – Dubai Mall, Mall of the Emirates and Abu Dhabi’s Yas mall – the only official Apple stores in the region.

Al Mansoori also noted the large number of subscribers in UAE for other calling applications, BOTIM and C’Me. Other VoIP services may be opened up provided they comply with regulations, analysts say.

Microsoft has confirmed that it is in talks with UAE’s telecom to lift the ban on Skype, Gulf News reports.

“We have been working closely with the local authorities towards gaining a better understanding of the local requirements in an effort to get Skype unblocked. We are passionate about the benefits that Skype offers to our users around the world by facilitating communication and enabling collaboration,” a Microsoft spokesperson told Gulf News.

Gulf News reported in March that Skype could become a reality after Microsoft opened two data centres in Dubai and Abu Dhabi early next year.

Skype is part of Microsoft Office 365. Right now, only the chat feature, which is text-based, in Skype is available for businesses.

The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of the UAE has blocked all video and voice call services, including Google’s Duo, Apple’s FaceTime and WhatsApp’s video and voice calling feature.

With unblocking of Skype and Facetime apps for cellphones and notepads, about 8 million of expats in the UAE are expected to benefit the most for incoming and outgoing free calls inland and overseas.

The story originally appeared here.






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