started giving free voice over internet protocol (VoIP) calls earlier in the
week and the feature has captured the attention of a lot of people, it was recently unraveled how whatsapp can be used on Pc laptops! but there
are reports that Etisalat, a telecoms provider in the United Arab Emirates
(UAE) has blocked this service a few hours after it came into use. Related Post ; Nintendo announces plan to develop new mobile games
There is a report by Emirates 24/7 which cites an unnamed company source
claiming Etisalat, one of the two licensed telecom operator in the United Arab
Emirates started blocking Whatsapp voice calls from its network since Monday.
This ban will take between four to six days to affect all customers in the UAE.
The users who have activated the feature might still be able to continue using
it over Wi-Fi networks.
The report from Emirate 24/7 says that the second telecoms operator in UAE, Du
is still allowing subscribers use the Whatsapp voice calling feature. This
means that Du has not blocked the service yet, but this is not likely to last
for long. This is because the country’s Telecommunications Regulatory Authority
(TRA) has made a statement clarifying the rules that surround the offering and
usage of VoIP services in the UAE saying that it is only the licensed telecoms
provider that has the right to provide VoIP services through their networks.
Any company interested in providing VoIP services has to liaise with the
licensed telecom company in the UAE.
A lot of Whatsapp users are still not aware of this voice calling feature
Whatsapp is providing as no official statement or confirmation has been released
concerning it. According to online media users, In order to use the voice
calling feature, you need to have the latest version of the app and know
another Whatsapp user who has it already, you can then request a VoIP call from
that caller and the new feature will be activated.
Whatsapp voice calling service is not the only one affected with this law put
in place by the TRA, Skype which perhaps is the most popular voice calling
service in the world is also affected, it is only allowed to offer text messaging
in the UAE. The regulatory and technical requirement of the TRA must be
fulfilled and Skype has not done this in the UAE, therefore the voice calling
service is unauthorized. TRA also made it known that Viber which offers voice
calling services all over the world is also not licensed in the UAE.
Etisalat’s banning of Whatsapp in the UAE is not surprising as other telecom
companies around the world are showing reluctance in allowing voice calling
services operate freely on their network specifically Bharti Airtel, India’s
leading telecom provider who initially announced its plan to roll out voice
calling services in the country in December but later reversing the decision
saying it would wait for the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India to release its
consultation paper on the services.