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Apple talking with UAE officials about lifting FaceTime, Skype bans

Apple and Microsoft are talking with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) government to lift its ban on Skype and FaceTime, which have been illegal in the Gulf country for years. Lifting the ban would significantly help small and medium-sized enterprises, reports CNBC.

The UAE Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) Director General Hamad Obaid Al Mansouri confirmed the talks this week, according to local news reports, citing the tech giants’ growing investment plans in the UAE and the desire to forge closer relationships with tech companies as primary reasons.

Skype and FaceTime, as well as other Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services like Whatsapp and Viber that allow free calling via an internet connection, are banned in the UAE and several other Middle Eastern countries including Qatar and Oman. Saudi Arabia lifted its ban on VoIP calling services last September.

According to CNBC, in the UAE’s case, the ban is in place because of the country’s telecoms laws, which essentially allow a monopoly of the sector by its largest telecommunications companies, Etisalat and Emirates Integrated Telecommunications.

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Dennis Sellers
the authorDennis Sellers
Dennis Sellers is the editor/publisher of Apple World Today. He’s been an “Apple journalist” since 1995 (starting with the first big Apple news site, MacCentral). He loves to read, run, play sports, and watch movies.