Has UAE unblocked WhatsApp for Expo 2020 Dubai visitors?

UAE authorities are allowing calls over WhatsApp and other internet apps on the grounds of the Expo 2020 Dubai world fair, Reuters reported.

Most apps using Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services – free internet-to-internet voice and video calls – have been blocked in UAE for years.

On Wednesday, Reuters found people were able to make and take voice calls using WhatsApp and Skype from the Expo site, which will open to businesses and exhibitors from almost 200 countries on Friday.

Expo organisers directed queries about the change to the UAE’s Telecommunications and Digital Government Regulatory Authority, which did not respond to requests for comment.

It was not immediately clear whether the relaxation will last beyond the six-month expo, or whether it would be applied to other areas of the UAE.

The government has in the past said people can only use licensed services such as BOTIM, without spelling out its reasons. Other countries have made similar restrictions for security reasons and to protect the revenues of telecoms providers.



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