According to Gulf News, Microsoft is in talks with TRA over licensing Skype which will allow the VoIP service to be legally and easily usable in the UAE. The newspaper also mentions another Arabic daily stating that TRA is in talks with Apple as well.
VoIP services have long been illegal and actively blocked in the UAE and only recently has the TRA started issuing license to have them working in the country. At the moment, only two services are legally allowed which are BOTIM and C'ME.
A consumer also needs to subscribe to an "Internet calling plan" in order to access these free VoIP services which costs AED 50 per month for mobile phones or AED 100 per month for land lines.
Is it because of Microsoft's UAE based Data Centers?
Coming back to Microsoft and Skype, the company plans to open it's first data centres in the Middle East in Dubai and Abu Dhabi sometime in 2019. Whether the decision to allow Skype in the UAE relates to that or not is not yet know but a spokesperson for Microsoft had the following to say to Gulf News.
“We have been working closely with the local authorities towards gaining a better understanding of the local requirements in an effort to get Skype unblocked. We are passionate about the benefits that Skype offers to our users around the world by facilitating communication and enabling collaboration."
TechRadar will continue following this story closely and post any updates related to it.