WhatsApp video, voice calls blocked again in UAE

UAE residents on Thursday morning were overjoyed when the blocked video, voice call features on WhatsApp was enabled after a several months.

Social media was abuzz with messages and tweets announcing the “good news”.

Mobile phones did not stop ringing as elated residents took the opportunity to freely connect with their friends and family back home.

However the joy was short-lived as UAE’s telecommunication authority once again restricted the use of WhatsApp’s voice and video-calling services by afternoon.

UAE’s Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) was quick to clarify that there was no change in the Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) policy in the country.

WhatsApp’s call functions are not licensed in the UAE, meaning they are effectively blocked. The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority said the service should not be available and was unaware of any changes that would allow access.

TRA said in the statement that any applications or services of this type must comply with the applicable regulatory framework in the country.

According to TRA “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 co-ordinate with the licensed telecom providers in the UAE,” the statement added.

WhatsApp has more than 1.2 billion active users and it has branched out from just providing communications to become a news source in many countries.

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