A technology that allows a user to make phone calls using a broadband internet connection instead of an analog phone line could soon become legal in the United Arab Emirates for the first time in years, according to an Arab news web site.
International internet-based calls using voice over internet protocol (VoIP) through providers such as Skype and Yahoo have been illegal in the UAE since 2004 and the related Web sites have been blocked, Maktoob.com reported last month.
The country’s Telecommunications Regulatory Authority has been working on an official proposal governing VoIP for several years. Currently, two domestic telecommunications service providers, Etisalat and Emirates Integrated Telecommunications, have been offering VoIP services within the country. If TRA comes up with a new policy for international calls it will only allow licensed providers to offer the services. That would mean that most likely Etisalat and Emirates Integrated Telecommunications will be the first legal providers of the service.
Yahoo announced in August 2009 that it would acquire Maktoob.com, which reported the news.