Etisalat lifts ban on VoIP apps. Etisalat has offered free internet calling facilities to its UAE customers. The offer is available for all the subscribers including the new and existing. The free internet calling plan for two months is introduced to help residents in the UAE during the coronavirus pandemic. Users can make calls using VoIP apps for 2 months free of charge using the wifi available at home.
The lock-down due to coronavirus pandemic caused people to sit at home for two to three weeks. Without the provisions to go out or meet with anyone, the request by people to allow internet calling like Whatsapp, Skype, and Facetime was on the higher side. Considering the situation, Etisalat has announced a free internet voice and video calling facility to all its subscribers for 2 months. The users will have to make use of the VoIP apps recommended and approved by Etisalat.
The customers will have to subscribe newly to this plan to benefit from the offer completely. Subscribers who already are in the package need to unsubscribe first and then activate the new offer. The message of Etisalat is “To stay in touch with your loved ones during these challenging times, subscribe to the monthly internet calling plan service for free in April and May and enjoy voice and video calls with supported apps. To subscribe, SMS ICP” to 1012. Together at home matters.” Once the subscription is activated, users can call their loved ones in voice or video using VoIP apps like BOTIM, Voico UAE, HiU, and C’Me.
In normal cases, internet calling charges cost Dh50 if a mobile phone is used and Dh 100 if the Wi-Fi service is used. The months of April and May will be completely free of charge. Etisalat and Du are the telco companies in UAE offering services to the public.
Zoom, Skype for business, Teams, and Hangout are the recent voice over internet protocol apps allowed by UAE for video and voice calling by lifting their bans. Regular skype is still blocked for voice and video calls. UAE has a history of the long-term ban on its almost all VoIP apps. Some of the public still try to use VPNs (Virtual private networks) and end up in jail or paying heavy fines. The internet calling ban in UAE has received much criticism and comments from both ex-pats and high profile locals. Sultan al Qassemi, an academic and a member of the UAE emirate of Sharjah’s ruling family, was one of the most notable critics on the bans.
The education sector makes use of BlackboardCollaborate, an education application to team and guide students. The apps said to be offering interactive experiences to students in learning.
As the frustration of the locals and expats arise alike, the authorities give it a thought recently. Most of the professionals are working from home and unable to contact their loved ones, communicate with their business associates, or carry out conference calls.
The telecom companies will also put on hold all suspension and termination of connections amid the coronavirus pandemic. Etisalat has offered several plans to its customers both on prepaid and postpaid plans. The plans include a monthly plan for eLife home Wi-Fi customers and a daily plan for control line mobile customers.
As the number of infected cases of COVID-19 is increasing rapidly in the UAE, the lock-down is expected to continue and the lifting of the ban on the VoIP apps seems to be a gesture of care and respect to the residents. The government urges everyone to stay home and stay safe. This lifting of the ban on the VoIP apps seems like encouragement or a reward to stay at home.
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