The UAE’s ban on Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services is primarily driven by two factors.
Firstly, it’s a measure to protect the profits of the country’s main telecom companies, which offer their own VoIP services for a fee.
Secondly, the law aims to prevent the dissemination and access of content considered illicit, illegal, or ‘haram’ under local regulations, including gambling, dating, and adult websites.
While technically, residents and visitors can bypass these restrictions using a Virtual Private Network (VPN), doing so to access blocked VoIP services is illegal and can lead to prosecution.
Although enforcement may not be stringent due to the widespread need for VoIP among the large expatriate population, the law still stands, and users risk legal consequences if caught.
Popular VoIP applications affected by this ban include:
The ban and associated laws reflect a balancing act between upholding certain cultural and legal standards while recognizing the ubiquitous nature of digital communication in a highly globalized society.
So What Is the Solution?
In the UAE, there’s a notable shift in how voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services are being managed. Citizens can now use a new video calling app named Yzer, which doesn’t require a Virtual Private Network (VPN) for access.
Yzer is a cloud-based app offering voice and video calling, text messaging, group chat, and automatic translations in 16 languages, including Arabic, Farsi, Hindi, and Chinese. Additionally, two other approved apps are Botim and C’ME.
Despite ongoing discussions about lifting the ban on popular VoIP apps like WhatsApp and FaceTime in the UAE, these services remain restricted.
The government had allowed WhatsApp for testing purposes to identify any security glitches, but this was a temporary measure.
Most of the UAE population currently relies on billed services from local telecom providers like Etisalat and Du as an alternative to VoIP apps.
The overarching ban on VoIP services stems primarily from security concerns and aids telecom companies in implementing their preferred solutions.
This approach aims to ensure reliable, smooth, and secure communication through licensed VoIP apps in the future.
Understanding these guidelines about the UAE’s VoIP services ban gives a clearer picture of the current communication landscape in the region. Meanwhile, the permitted VoIP apps like Yzer, Botim, and C’ME can be helpful alternatives.
Does Telegram Work in Dubai?
Yes, Telegram does work in Dubai. Despite restrictions on some messaging services in the UAE due to security concerns, Telegram remains accessible and unrestricted in Dubai.
This means that residents and visitors can use the app without any issues. Telegram, which was founded in St. Petersburg, Russia, in 2013 and is currently based in Dubai, is used by nearly 9% of the world’s population as of early 2023.
Additionally, in Dubai, users have the option to access Telegram through a web version of the app, providing an alternative for those who do not have access to VPNs or proxy servers, though this method might be more vulnerable to monitoring and censorship