When the founding chairman of Al Habtoor Group, Khalaf Al Habtoor spoke out on Twitter about Whatsapp calling features, it captivated many.
A high-profile businessman, imploring the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) to give residents back the ability to dial loved once on VOIP services made headlines.
And he's right.
The UAE leads the charge internationally, through so many fields
From flying taxis and transportation, to its pursuit of happiness and becoming a Smart City, to construction, the country is a pioneer and icon to many other nations in the world.
But then there's our calling systems... which are a daily struggle. Businesses can't speak to people in other countries via Skype (some struggle to believe).
Far from the pinnacle of tech, residents - indeed expatriates living away from home - struggle to video call their families in their home countries, without whooper fees.
In one of the world's safest, smartest, happiest countries - it's high time the comms arm caught up with every other great initiative.
And let's be honest - the blocking of Skype probably didn't help up margins for BOTIM, C'Me and alternatives - if anything, VPN subscriptions probably just increased
It's worth noting however, the businesses like Skype that are blocked have failed to adhere to TRA's licencing laws - so it's not wholly the TRA that is responsible for the block.
However, Habtoor's video got a huge response, with hundreds voicing support to his message.
In a country like #UAE, where we aim to always be pioneers in all we do, #WhatsAppCall should not banned when it is accessible everywhere else in the world. I urge mobile carriers in the UAE to lift the ban, a service free to use in the top nations of the world. #KhalafAlHabtoor pic.twitter.com/Lzx0w24rL5
— KhalafAhmadAlHabtoor (@KhalafAlHabtoor) September 9, 2018
Thank you so much for this appeal. It is so hard to keep in touch with business partners around the world without video calls. FaceTime, Skype, WhatsAppCall .. would be nice to use it from UAE as a pioneer country like UAE ????????.
— AW (@albinwiesmann) September 9, 2018
I applaud you for this! Putting business aside, think of the many thousands of people who help to build this city, work 12 hour shifts for very low pay, send most of their salary home and are away from their loved ones. They deserve this!
— Claire CKB (@claireg_dubai) September 9, 2018
Absolutely nailed it Sayed Khalaf. It's a no brainer, UAE boasts of connecting the world with its best airlines. How much does the nation save from blocking VOIP? Instead of efforts of building VPNs to Block the VOIP, the time and resources shud be more constructively diverted.
— Alifiya Sura (@Alifiya_Sura) September 10, 2018