Skype, one of the most widely used voice & video calling app, has been blocked by the United Arab Emirates authorities over making allegedly ‘unlicensed’ VoIP calls.

The step taken on the eve of New Year festivities has proven problematic for expats who are working in the UAE or chosen Dubai to enjoy holiday season.

It is worth mentioning that UAE has also blocked other VoIP apps like WhatsApp and SnapChat earlier December, leaving Skype the only option to choose.

As for now, the UAE’s telecom providers ‘Etisalat’ and ‘du’ have confirmed that Skype is blocked throughout the country.

Addressing the issue, Skype confirmed inaccessibility in UAE and also mentioned that the app had been blocked in Qatar. Skype said in a message displayed on its official website:

It has been brought to our attention that our website and services have been blocked by the ISPs in the United Arab Emirates and Qatar. That means you won’t be able to use Skype in the United Arab Emirates or Qatar.

Unfortunately, there is very little Skype can do about this situation. The best course of action would be for you to speak to your ISP and ask why they are blocking Skype and request that they unblock our site and services.

On the other hand, UAE’s neighbour, Saudi Arabia, had announced in September that online video calling apps — including WhatsApp, Skype and Viber — would be unblocked in the Kingdom that month.

The apps were blocked in Saudi Arabia in 2013, after the government claimed that “they do not meet the regulatory conditions” in the country. However, an industry source had then alleged that the move was motivated by business interests.