Skype may be unblocked in Dubai

Microsoft confirms talks with Dubai officials over Skype ban

Skype may be unblocked in Dubai

Microsoft has confirmed that it is in talks with Dubai officials about lifting the ban on Skype.

The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) had reportedly been holding discussions with the Seattle-based tech giant as well as FaceTime creator Apple to allow the popular apps to be used across the emirates.

Now it has been confirmed that the talks are taking place, with Microsoft saying: “We have been working closely with the local authorities towards gaining a better understanding of the local requirements in an effort to get Skype unblocked.

“We are passionate about the benefits that Skype offers to our users around the world by facilitating communication and enabling collaboration.”

It comes in light of both firms expanding their investments in the UAE, with Microsoft set to open two new data centres in the country.

Apple already has three stores in the UAE, at The Dubai Mall, Mall of the Emirates and Abu Dhabi's Yas Mall – the only official outlets in the region.

TRA director Hamad Obaid Al Mansoori previously told Arabic newspaper Al Ittihad that relationships with the tech companies are “strong and stable”.

He also noted the large number of subscribers for official calling applications BOTIM and C'Me.

Currently, Etisalat offers the two services for Dhs50 per month on iOS and Android.

Speaking to Time Out Dubai, a spokesman for the TRA said that the services are "still not available" but wouldn't confirm details of the reported talks.

It looks like we may soon see the days of calling home via Skype and FaceTime return.

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