The UAE’s telecom authority has lifted restrictions on Microsoft Skype for Business and Google HangOut to enable work from home for people on during the coronavirus pandemic. This announcement was made by the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of the UAE in a statement.
Microsoft Times, Zoom, and Blackboard are now allowed on all networks, while Microsoft Skype for Business and Google HangOut applications are now compatible with fixed internet networks in the country. In the UAE, 85 percent of the population are foreigners and this necessitates unblocking of applications that enable free voice calls using the internet.
The telecom authority said in a statement, “In context of the current situation, and as part of the TRA’s efforts to support distance learning and working from home, the TRA – in coordination with the UAE telecom operators – announces the availability of a group of applications, exceptionally until further notice.”
The announcement is crucial to the country’s efforts to promote social distancing to curb the coronavirus spread. The decision to ban these applications was largely influenced by the number of employees doing work from home as a precautionary measure against the coronavirus spread.
Previously, Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi, an Emirati educator had urged the country to lift the ban on free-calling applications during this time. His tweet pointed out that it is necessary to lift the ban on VOIP services amid the coronavirus pandemic to ensure smooth business operations. This in turn is anticipated to lessen the impact on the UAE economy.
It is reported that some schools have begun e-learning while companies have enabled work from home facilities for all employees.