TRA announces revised VoIP policy

TRA announces revised VoIP policy
WAM ABU DHABI, March 15th, 2010: The UAE Telecom Regulatory Authority (TRA) has announced its revised VoIP regulatory policy.

Voice over internet protocol (VoIP) is a general term for voice communications over IP networks such as the internet or other packet-switched networks. The technology can be used along with certain applications to make calls over the internet.

TRA's VoIP Regulatory Policy applies to VoIP Services, stipulates that Licensees may offer greater range of VoIP Services. The Policy also exempts certain scenarios from its provisions, for example, for UAE academic and governmental bodies, according to TRA.

The body said the step is part of its commitment to encourage provisioning of innovative services.

The TRA Regulatory Framework is technology neutral, and the TRA does not prohibit VoIP as a technology. However, it is important to note that offering VoIP Services is considered a Regulated Activity which requires a license. Therefore, only Licensees may provide VoIP Services. These services may be provided as either (1) as an end-to-end voice service (as in the traditional telephony); (2) as a "feature" on top of connectivity service; or (3) in any other form that the Licensee may wish to provide.

"The TRA believes that this regulatory policy will provide opportunities for both Licensees and users to benefit from VoIP-based Services in keeping with the market demands. The TRA looks forward to seeing the introduction of VoIP Services that are responsive to consumer and business needs,' Executive Director at the TRA Eng. Mohammed Gheyath said at a press conference today.

"As is the case with other Telecommunications Services, parties other than the Licensees may not provide VoIP Services in the UAE. However they can always approach and collaborate with the Licensees to legally provide their services. Companies wishing to use VoIP Services for international communications may approach the Licensees directly to seek such services," said TRA.