Expats in UAE livid over Skype ban

Published:  12 Apr at 6 PM
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Tagged: UAE
Expats living and working in the UAE who regularly use Skype to keep in touch with friends and family at home are furious about the emirate’s ban on the popular app.

The announcement by Skype that its services could not now be used in the UAE sent a wave of expat fury heading to social media, with residents venting their frustrations in no uncertain terms. According to Skype, it’s working towards a solution which will re-enable the service, but with no results as yet. In addition to affecting the personal lives of the expat community, businesses are also affected and are claiming the move goes against the emirate’s Vision 2021 plan for economic development.

As usual, Twitter was the chosen portal for comments on the ban, with one expat reporting his mom was crying out of sheer frustration over not being able see and talk with him online. Corporate entities relying on Skype for their online meetings with overseas head offices were equally furious, especially as no notice had been given and the only local alternatives aren’t fit for the purpose. Also suffering were those who’d booked internet job interviews, especially as the reasons for the ban began to emerge.

It’s not the first time Skype has been banned, with netizens now posting that the government are attempting to force Skype users to switch to rival domestic services such as Botim or C’me, neither of which, according to expats, are up to the job. Others are attempting to explain the ban as a reaction to the fact that its unlicensed VoIP service is illegal in the UAE. Causing even more expat fury is the fact that, just after the ban was announced, Etisalat offered monthly subscriptions to the free BOTIM service for those in need of video-conferencing facilities or contact with the home country.
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