Microsoft 'hopeful' that Skype will be unblocked in the UAE

The firm has been in discussions with UAE telecoms officials

Microsoft 'hopeful' that Skype will be unblocked in the UAE

Microsoft has said it is “hopeful” of overturning the ban on Skype in the UAE, according to reports.

Currently, mobile video-calling technology is restricted on apps including WhatsApp, Facebook, Viber and Snapchat.

But Microsoft has been in discussions with UAE telecoms officials in a bid to open Skype up to UAE residents once more.

In a statement released last week to The National, a Microsoft spokesman said: “We are passionate about the benefits that Skype offers to our users around the world by facilitating communication and enabling collaboration.”

Skype was first blocked in the UAE in January, with UAE officials citing concerns over the security of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services such as Skype or WhatsApp video calling.

According to the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority, anyone using unlicensed services such as Skype “may be committing a criminal offence”.

Meanwhile, music streaming service Spotify is exploring a launch in the UAE – and it's already advertising for staff.

Earlier this year, eagle-eyed web users spotted adverts for several roles based in Dubai including a "Senior Editor Middle East and Africa" and a "Technical Account Manager".

The listings appeared last week on several job websites including LinkedIn.

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.

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

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