Facebook denies Messenger video-chat service has been launched in the UAE

It looks like social networking website Facebook won't be rivalling Skype

Knowledge story, The Knowledge

Facebook's Messenger video-calling service did not receive a special launch in the UAE, the social media company told to Time Out Dubai's sister website ITP.net, contradicting earlier reports that the would-be Skype-thwarter had debuted in the country.

Abu Dhabi's The National newspaper reported on Monday that the Messenger extension, launched worldwide in April to compete with VoIP services such as Microsoft's Skype, had been "introduced" in the UAE. This followed an earlier report from Emirates 24-7, which quoted a Facebook "media statement":

However, a Dubai-based Facebook spokesperson told ITP.net: "This was a global launch and we had no press event or specific announcement in the UAE."

UAE telecoms regulations prevent non-licensed entities from providing voice-over-IP (VoIP) services in the Gulf nation.

As the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) has explained in the past, Etisalat and du are permitted to provide such services. If OTT (over the top) offerings, such as Skype or Facebook Messenger's video-chat, are to launch in the UAE it would have to be with their cooperation. However, neither du nor Etisalat have, as yet, indicated a willingness to explore such options.

At the time of writing, the TRA could not be reached for comment.

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