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|09 September, 2018

UAE businessman wants ban on WhatsApp, Skype calls lifted

Telecom operators have blocked VoIP calls in the UAE.

Image used for illustrative purpose. Businessman hand working with mobile phone and laptop computer with technology digital graphic

Image used for illustrative purpose. Businessman hand working with mobile phone and laptop computer with technology digital graphic

Getty Images/ Dong Wenjie

A prominent Emirati and Dubai-based billionaire has called on UAE's telecom firms to unblock VoIP services so that the UAE residents can make free calls through WhatsApp and Skype.

Khalaf Al Habtoor, chairman, Al Hatboor Group, stressed that UAE telecom firms -- Etisalat and du -- should allow VoIP calls as the UAE strives towards becoming the No. 1 country in everything, including the communications sector.

"I would like to talk about a very important issue. A lot of people complain (about it). A lot of people use WhatsApp and Skype call everywhere in the world. (they're) free all over the world except in my country. The telecom companies (in UAE) are blocking it and not allowing it. Therefore, I like to request the management and directors of these companies to release and free the system and enable everybody to enjoy it," Al Habtoor said in a video statement released on Sunday.

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) calls have been blocked by the UAE telecom firms in the UAE, and residents have to use alternatives provided by local telecom service providers.

Arabic daily Al Ittihad reported earlier this year that the UAE telecom regulator was holding talks with Microsoft and Apple, focusing on the potential lifting of a ban on Skype and FaceTime.

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"We always here in the UAE want to be No. 1 in everything. But why we are lagging as far as communication is concerned. Our and our leaders' aim is to be number one. So I request telecom firms to release (VoIP) for everybody in the UAE everywhere," Al Habtoor said.

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