Apple and Microsoft are in holding talks with the United Arab Emirates federal government to lift its ban on FaceTime calling and Skype, which has been prohibited in the Gulf country for some years. According to local news reports, UAE’s Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) Director General Hamad Obaid Al Mansouri confirmed the talks would take place this week in Dubai. The main reasons for the negotiations are that Microsoft and Apple plan to hugely investment in the Emirates and build close associations with technology companies in the country. All voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services that allow free calling services through internet connection such as Skype, FaceTime, and WhatsApp are also banned in other Middle Eastern countries including Qatar and Oman.
Last year in September Saudi Arabia lifted its ban. In the UAE the ban was placed because of the Telcom laws only allows the Etisalat and Emirates Integrated Telecommunications companies to offer VoIP services which are quite expensive. Many residents and large business in Dubai are forced to use VPNs to access the services. According, to analysts lifting the ban, will considerably impact small and medium-sized businesses in Dubai. One of the Microsoft representatives confirmed that they are working closely with the local authorities to ensure they meet all the requirements to have Skype available to the business in Dubai. Once the ban is lifted, the government will monitor online calls as Microsoft plans to construct two data centers in Dubai and Abu Dhabi in 2019.