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Internet Call Savings Granted to Existing Suppliers

Middle East : 17 March 2010

It has been announced that the TRA (Telecommunications Regulatory Authority) has finally given the green light for Internet phone calls or VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) to be allowed, however it has only authorized this for suppliers who possess a current license to offer this service.

This means that operators such as Skype who offer very low call international rates are still excluded from the VoIP market at present. Only four companies are currently licensed to offer such services and it is therefore now possible for them to set all call rates and keep the Internet phone market exclusive to their price preferences. Many fear that this will lead to collusion between them to maximize profits and we will not actually see any noticeable reduction in the price of international calls.

The only feasible way for a company such as Skype to now get a foothold in the market would be to go into partnership with one of the four existing licensed suppliers who are Thuraya, Etisalat, du and Yahsat.

At present the TRA see internet phone calls as being a service and as such they require a license to operate, customers on the other hand see VoIP as being a form of technology and technically this does not require a license.

This debate is likely to run for sometime yet and Companies such as Skype will not be entering the Middle East VoIP market as it exists at present unless they negotiate a deal with existing suppliers.

Andrew Reid, Staff Writer, Gulf Jobs Market News
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