It appears the UAE’s cybersecurity and telecom authority are planning to lift the ban on WhatsApp’s calling feature very soon.
UAE plans to lift ban on WhatsApp calls
If you’ve lived in the UAE long enough, you’ve probably downloaded BOTIM, C’Me or alternatives in order to contact family overseas and explained numerous times why WhatsApp’s calling feature doesn’t work here.
At last, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. The chief of the National Electronic Security Authority (NESA), Mohamed Al Kuwaiti, revealed the UAE is collaborating with WhatsApp to unblock their calling feature. Even though there’s no exact date on lifting the ban, Al Kuwaiti says it’s happening “soon”. It’s yet to be announced whether the service will be free or not.
Here’s what Al Kuwaiti said in an interview with an American business news channel:
” The collaboration with WhatsApp has actually increased, and in many of those [projects] we saw a very good understanding [from them] of the concept we have. There might be a lift of that ban for [WhatsApp] voice calls… and this is going to happen soon, this is what we know and understand from the telecommunication authority here in the UAE “
Mohamed Al Kuwaiti, Executive Director of National Electronic Security Authority (NESA),
Lifting ban on WhatsApp calls follows Emirati industrialist’s plea
Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor, chairman of Al Habtoor Group; one of the longest-running businesses in UAE, stirred people’s attention after posting a video demanding telecom operators tounblock calling features on WhatsApp last year.
He claims the ban is a huge setback for the
country especially when it wants to be “number one in everything.”
In a country like #UAE, where we aim to always be pioneers in all we do, #WhatsAppCall should not banned when it is accessible everywhere else in the world. I urge mobile carriers in the UAE to lift the ban, a service free to use in the top nations of the world. #KhalafAlHabtoorpic.twitter.com/Lzx0w24rL5
Last year saw the UAE and Microsoft hold discussions over the possibilities of lifting the ban on Skype, as the tech giant considered Dubai and Abu Dhabi for building data centres. There have not been any announcements about this yet though.