UPDATE: In the light of the free WhatsApp calling feature that started working in the UAE, the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) has issued a statement that "there is no change in the UAE's policy on voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services". Furthermore, "TRA confirms that any applications or services of this nature must be subject to the regulatory framework in force in the country". The source also adds that Etisalat and Du will resume the ban for WhatsApp Calling, later in the day.
Catching everyone by surprise, WhatsApp calling features have now been enabled on both Etisalat and Du lines across UAE.
The service, which was previously blocked by the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) due to it not complying with the country’s laws, is now available to use for all users. There has been no confirmation from the TRA if the change is permanent or not.
A Reddit thread on r/Dubai also lists other VOIP services like Telegram calls, Snapchat calls, and even FaceTime to be working. As much as we would like to believe that the TRA had a change of heart, it seems highly improbable that VOIP services have been unblocked in the country permanently.
There have been times in the past where such VOIP services were unblocked due to a glitch in the system, and then swiftly patched up as soon as a solution was found. We fear this is what is happening today. Or maybe it’s simply unblocked for the upcoming Eid festivities? We will never know unless TRA comments on the matter.
We have personally tested the WhatsApp call and it works just fine (the quality is not the best over data but it’s still something). If you are unaware of how to enable a WhatsApp call, simply tap on the user’s name in the app and click the video or telephone icon in the top right corner to initiate a call.