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Du subscribers get access to Skype calls: report.

Du landline and mobile customers yesterday found they could access Skype calls, according to reports by UAE media.

Previously, download of the Skype software from the Skype

website and some third-party sites was problematic in the UAE, due to barring

of the service by national ISPs Etisalat and du.

According to The National, Etisalat maintains its embargo, but was able to confirm du subscribers can access the website,

download the software and install it.

The National's report also said du customers were able to add credit to

their Skype accounts and make Skype-to-phone calls, but Emirates 24|7 reported that such calls, specifically those to numbers in India, suffered disruption.

It is unclear what is behind the block lift or when it

occurred, but Skype owner Microsoft's discontinuation of its Windows Live Messenger service on 15 March may have been a catalyst. Prior to the switch-off, Microsoft had said that users would have to rely on Skype after that date, sparking some users to express concerns about disruption of other services such as Hotmail, which Microsoft migrated to its service.

While the Skype voice-over-IP service is widely used for

Skype-to-Skype calls among UAE expats, TRA (Telecom Regulatory Authority) regulations

deem use of "unlicensed VOIP" services to be illegal, unless explicitly sanctioned

by the relevant operator.

However, the TRA has also said there is no regulatory

barrier to Etisalat or du licensing VOIP services, but neither telco has previously

shown willingness to do so.

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Geographic Code:7UNIT
Date:Mar 20, 2013
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