This note summarises recent announcements from the telecommunications regulators and other telecommunications news outlets in Qatar, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia. Where appropriate, content from the relevant announcements has been incorporated into the text below.
Qatar – Qatar Telecom (QTel) and its subsidiaries re-brand
Qatar Telecom has announced that it is no longer to be known as a company based in Qatar, or a telecoms company. The company is be known henceforth as "ooredoo"; meaning "I want" in Arabic.
Saudi Arabia – Government may block Internet messaging applications
Saudi Arabia's Communications and Information Technology Commission has released a statement that Saudi Arabia may block access to popular Internet messaging applications like Skype, Viber and WhatsApp if telecommunication providers there do not comply with rules and regulatory conditions.
UAE – Skype now permitted in the UAE but VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) still blocked
The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) in the UAE has unblocked the Skype website www.skype.com enabling computer-to-computer calls to be made using Skype's services. However, the TRA also announced that the telecommunications law and the VoIP policy remain the same and allow only the licensees (etisalat and du) to provide telecommunications services, including VoIP services, in the UAE. Skype, therefore, cannot be used to make computer-to-mobile or computer-to-landline calls.