Voice, video calls unblocked in UAE

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Instant messaging service WhatsApp’s voice-calling service, earlier blocked in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), was operative early Thursday according to local media reports.

WhatsApp groups and social media pages were abuzz with the new development that left the expatriate community in UAE elated.

In November last year, WhatsApp officially rolled out the video-calling service, but mobile phone users in UAE could not access the service due to regulatory compliance.

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services, including video calling, were restricted in the UAE, with country’s Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) allowing only licensed providers to offer such services.

Numerous Dubai and Sharjah-based users confirmed that the voice-calling feature was working fine on both WiFi connection and mobile data since Thursday morning, the Khaleej Times reported.

Authorities are yet to confirm the new development.

According to a TRA statement, “VoIP services are still a prerogative of the licensed providers who reserve the right to provide such services through their networks. Companies wishing to offer such services must coordinate with the licensed telecom providers in the UAE.”