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UAE to change VoIP ruling

Thursday, November 02, 2006

In the ongoing saga of Middle Eastern countries that block access to VoIP services, the UAE has decided it will lift its ban on Internet telephony applications:
Reuters Arabic and Albayan this week quoted officials from the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority as saying that the ban would be lifted to allow the two licensed telecom operators, du and etisalat, to use the technology.
Great news! The ban is going to be lif--wait, what was that? Only the telecoms will have access?
The reports say the TRA will publish VoIP rates during the GITEX expo running from November 18 to 22.
VoIP rates? People will have to pay to use softphones like Skype? It sounds like they may not have access to softphones at all. There will be two flavors of VoIP in UAE -- "VoIP etisalat" and "duVoIP" for example -- and the people will be back to the two choices they originally had. However, they should be able to save money compared to the standard long-distance rates, so will citizens consider this a victory?


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