Viber Not Licensed in the UAE




The UAE’s Telecommunications Regulation Authority has issued a statement clarifying the restrictions of smartphone communication apps such as Viber. According to the statement, the application was never licensed in the UAE and is therefore not authorized to function. Recent news regarding the blocking of the app are therefore deemed irrelevant.

The statement from the TRA reads: “We have recently seen local newspapers and social networks publishing news with regards to the Viber service being blocked in the UAE. We would like to clarify that the service was never licensed in the UAE”

With regards to the regulations on VoIP services, the TRA clarifies that any respective services continue to remain the prerogative of the country’s two licensed telecom providers, Etisalat and du, whereas global online services are not allowed and are encrypted.

“The VoIP regulatory policy has only licensed ‘etisalat’ and ‘du’ (the licensees) to provide telecommunication services in the UAE, including VoIP services. This policy still exists and has not been amended,” the TRA statement explains.

With regards to the popular app Skype, the TRA had already issued a related statement last year explaining how du and Etisalat “must seek approval to provide such service after fulfilling the regulatory and technical requirements of the TRA, which has not happened in the case of Skype”.


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