ABU DHABI // Snapchat users in the UAE have taken to social media to voice their anger over the video and voice calling features on the app being blocked by the nation’s telecom operators.
Etisalat and du took the action following a Snapchat upgrade last month that included the additional features.
Similar action has been taken over other applications – including messenger services such as WhatsApp and WeChat.
The applications use voice over internet protocol (VoIP) technology to allow users to make calls over the worldwide web.
“Many families rely on video chat to see their loved ones,” said one Twitter user, after finding out about the restricted access.
A Snapchat spokesman said: “Video and voice calling are currently not available in the UAE due to local regulations.”
Du said provision of VoIP services in the UAE must be done in coordination with licensed firms, which include only du and Etisalat.
“Voice over internet protocol is considered part of the UAE’s regulated activities,” du said.
“The TRA (Telecommunications Regulatory Authority) has granted licensed operators the eligibility to provide such services across their networks.
“Companies wishing to provide such services should coordinate with the UAE’s licensed service providers in this regard.”
The stance echoed the views of the TRA, which has said: “VoIP services are still a prerogative of the licensed providers who reserve the right to provide such services through their networks.”
Etisalat did not respond to a request for comment.