After Banning VPN, UAE Blocks Free WhatsApp Voice Call Feature

It seems banning the usage of VPN (Virtual Private Network) wasn’t enough as the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) of United Arab Emirates (UAE) has now blocked new free voice call feature from popular instant messaging app WhatsApp. 

According to TRA’s website, the free call service was blocked because VoIP services can only be offered in the UAE by licensed providers, in effect Etisalat and du.

In a press statement TRA made it clear that only licensed telecom providers have rights to provide such service (free or paid).

“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.”

One of the Etisalat revealed anonymously that TRA has already begin scrambling the signals, but it may take few days to completely ban the service in UAE, according to Emirates 24×7.

“Scrambling has been activated but may take a few days to percolate down to all UAE subscribers.”

Some DU users in UAE are already enjoying WhatsApp free voice calling, but in about few days the service will be blocked by DU as well as Etisalat.

MUST READ: Dubai Police: Using VPN in United Arab Emirates is a Punishable Crime

Most of the WhatsApp users are still unaware of WhatsApp free voice call service as there hasn’t been any official announcement from the company. However, according to reports users have to download latest version of WhatsApp in order to enjoy free voice calling feature. 

This is not the first time when UAE has blocked users from availing free service. At the moment Skype and Viber services are officially blocked. 

Last week Mr. Al Hajri, Director at the Cyber Crime division of Dubai Police revealed that using VPN in UAE is a punishable crime. 

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