UAE in talks to allow Skype

TRAI's Mohamed Al Ghanim told a conference this week his team is in discussions with Skype and other VOIP providers

Telecoms authorities in the UAE are working on ways to make Skype available in the country, according to a statement by Mohamed Al Ghanim, Director-General of the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA).

Al Ghanim was speaking at a Customer Advisory Board (CAB) forum organised by UAE operator du in Dubai. The event aimed at addressing and discussing key issues and trends in customer behaviour and expectations.

When asked by the assembled CAB members about VoIP, Al Ghanim said: “Today the world is changing to IP. With regards to internet telephony, only the telecom service providers in the UAE are licensed to offer VoIP services and they have started to provide these services already.

“This measure is set in place to protect telecom customers, as if a company is not registered with us, we cannot intervene or help should a problem arise. We have been working with Skype and other VoIP providers to see if their services could be established here in the UAE,” he added, but did not offer any further details or say if and when such services would be made available to residents.

“It has been proven that having high quality and widespread broadband access enhances a country’s economy and boosts both the private and public sectors. Indeed, here in the UAE, broadband traffic and smart phones usage is higher than anywhere else in the region, social networking is becoming increasingly popular and people are demanding more and more bandwidth. Therefore, broadband access will be a national focus for the TRA over the next few years,” said Al Ghanim.

“The liberalisation of data centres and cloud computing will be the next big issues for the industry,” he added.

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