UAE Lifts Ban on WhatsApp & Other VoIP Services Due to COVID-19

Tech and Telecom

As governments all around the world encourage citizens to stay home amidst the global pandemic, the United Arab Emirates has relaxed its restriction on the internet telephone apps. Last week, UAE lifted the ban and made Microsoft Teams, Skype for Business, Zoom, and Blackboard publicly available throughout the country.

A week after that, the government, realizing the importance of working from home in these testing times, has lifted the ban of Google Hangouts Meet, Cisco Webex, Avaya Spaces, BlueJeans, and Slack as well.

The announcement was made by the Country’s Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) on Monday. The TRA also announced that it would keep on reviewing and updating the list of available applications “from time to time.”

This announcement comes as the UAE government restricts any movements from 8 pm to 6 am till 5th April. During these hours, all the public areas around the country will be thoroughly cleaned.

Over the past few years, UAE has welcomed much foreign investment, and most of its 9 million population consists of expatriates. Hence, the authorities had no choice but to allow the services to help employees and employers stay connected.

The TRA has not promised long-term availability of the services; hence, as soon as the situation settles, the services may be banned once again.

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