Every day, tens of thousands of travelers, foreign students, and expatriates use Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services such as Skype to communicate with friends and family back home. However, Skype and comparable services are completely restricted in other countries, such as the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Indeed, there are just a few approved VoIP providers in the UAE, and they tend to have exorbitant monthly prices.
However, there is a workaround.
By connecting to a Virtual Private Network (VPN), you may disguise your IP address, causing your internet traffic to seem to originate in another location. This enables you to download software and access websites that are normally unavailable in Dubai, Qatar, and other UAE cities. Additionally, VPNs encrypt your data, ensuring that it cannot be accessed by other parties, such as your Internet Service Provider (ISP).
We’ll discuss why the UAE restricts Skype in this article and how you may circumvent these limitations using a VPN. Additionally, we’ll propose the best VPN for the UAE and discuss the dangers of free VPN services in the UAE.
How to unblock Skype in the United Arab Emirates
It’s rather easy to unblock Skype using a VPN, even in countries such as the UAE, Qatar, Libya, and Kuwait, where the service is ostensibly unavailable. Simply follow the instructions outlined below.
- To begin with, choose an appropriate service. Numerous VPNs do not operate in the UAE, making it critical to choose the right one. (We suggest NordVPN.)
- Install the VPN program. Numerous versions will be available; thus, ensure that you install the correct version for your device.
- Connect to a server located in a nation that does not prohibit the use of Skype.
- Wait until you’ve established a connection. Now, install Skype. After installation, you should be able to make and receive calls normally.
The best VPN for Skype unblocking
While hundreds of VPN providers are accessible, only a select few operate dependably and provide excellent call quality inside the UAE. When determining the best VPN to unblock Skype in the United Arab Emirates, we searched for a provider that matched the following criteria:
- Can circumvent the UAE’s internet censorship.
- Has fast enough connection speeds for high-definition streaming and high-quality VoIP calls.
- Provides a diverse array of servers in a variety of different places.
- Utilizes robust encryption and incorporates other sophisticated security features.
- Does not record any information that might be used to identify you.
NordVPN is our best recommendation for a VPN in the United Arab Emirates. It’s one of the fastest VPNs we’ve tried and boasts a large network, with over 5,000 servers spread across several countries. Additionally, this VPN supports a wide variety of services, so whether you want to conduct crystal-clear Skype conversations or watch a few episodes of your favorite program on Netflix, you’ll be in excellent hands.
NordVPN provides a broader range of security features than many of its competitors. It is equipped with 256-bit encryption, a kill switch, leak prevention, as well as ad filtering, virus scanning, and the option to connect to Tor through VPN. NordLynx is also a proprietary protocol that is built on WireGuard and promises to give increased performance without sacrificing privacy. NordVPN just passed its second no-logs assessment, ensuring that your online activity cannot be traced back to you.
This VPN service is available on Android, iOS, Linux, Windows, and MacOS operating systems. Additionally, it may be installed on compatible network routers, albeit configuring it is necessary manually.
How did Skype get blocked?
Before their services may be used, VoIP providers must obtain a specific license in the UAE. The issue is that there are now just two services accessible, both of which are operated by Etisalat, a national Internet service provider. Although the precise rationale for this rule is unknown, the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) identifies one of its objectives as “[ensuring] that licensees adhere to quality performance standards.” You’d think Skype would qualify, with its 300 million active users globally, but it’s not.
This prohibition may have an ulterior intent. The UAE has a long history of imposing severe internet control. Additionally, a growing number of VoIP providers, such as Skype and WhatsApp, now offer end-to-end encryption. This significantly complicates the government’s ability to track user behavior. This is not speculative; the UAE already has stringent regulations around VPN use, likely for a similar purpose.
Is it possible to unblock Skype with a free VPN provider?
Using a free VPN service is never a good idea, but it is especially problematic in the UAE. These services often have smaller networks and IP address ranges, but they have a higher user base than premium services. This results in very poor speeds, lengthy server wait times, and monthly data caps. As a result, while using a free VPN service with Skype, you’re likely to have video chat that hangs, stuttering audio, and even call disconnections.
Some VPNs that are available for free are not well-known for their security. Even if you use a genuine program that is not meant to infect your device with malware, research indicates that a large proportion of free VPNs are susceptible to IPv6 leaks. Worse still, some VPNs do not encrypt your traffic at all, implying that you are less safe than you would be without a VPN. These hazards apply to bigger providers as well; we’ve even seen a large free VPN sell its customers’ bandwidth to help in the operation of a botnet.
Methodology: Selecting the best VPN for Skyping in the United Arab Emirates
It pays to do research before purchasing a VPN, and this is especially true if you want to visit the UAE. After all, several providers are much too sluggish for real-world usage, while others are incapable of circumventing the country’s VoIP prohibitions entirely. The following are the important aspects we looked for while evaluating the best Skype VPN:
- Unblocking capability: This should go without saying, but your VPN must be capable of bypassing government-mandated web censorship. Otherwise, you would be unable to use Skype or other international services (which might be rather inconvenient if you are visiting the UAE on vacation).
- Speed: You should not be subjected to stuttering, latency, or lost calls. That is why we only suggest a VPN that performed well in our most recent speed tests. We also consider consistency, so only those who consistently do well make the cut.
- Security and privacy: At a bare minimum, we expect providers to provide 256-bit encryption, a kill switch, DNS and IPv6 leak prevention, and a no-log policy. However, the service mentioned incorporates additional privacy features such as stealth modes, cloaking capabilities, and bespoke protocols.
- Ease of use: Everyone should be able to safely surf the web. The best VPNs should feature user-friendly applications, live chat assistance, and, ideally, straightforward, toggleable choices that clarify their purpose.
- Pricing: We evaluate VPNs’ prices against those of similar-priced rivals to exclude those who charge more than is really warranted. Additionally, we’ll provide information about any discounts, trials, or money-back guarantees available so you don’t have to spend a dime more than required.
Skype for UAE FAQs
Are virtual private networks (VPNs) lawful in the United Arab Emirates?
VPNs offer a plethora of acceptable purposes and are lawfully utilized across the globe. For example, remote workers may use them to connect to their employer’s internal network, gamers can use them to defend themselves from DDoS assaults, and consumers can remain secure while using public wifi networks. However, since VPN regulations vary by nation, it’s critical to familiarize yourself with local rules before traveling to another country. So, are VPNs legal in the United Arab Emirates?
Article 9 of Federal Decree-Law No. 5 of 2012 on Combating Cybercrime outlines the penalties for people who use VPNs to conduct or hide a crime. However, this does not render VPN use criminal in and of itself.
Nothing in the preceding should be construed as legal advice. The UAE’s digital ecosystem is complicated and constantly developing. We strongly advise you to do your research about the country’s copyright, cybercrime, and VoIP laws before trying to use a VPN there.
What other websites and services are restricted in the United Arab Emirates?
The UAE has some of the world’s most restrictive internet access policies. The following is a list of the sorts of information that the country’s government automatically censors. Note: since TRA does not publicly identify all prohibited websites, more types of content may exist that are not included here.
- Content that is pro-LGBT
- Sensitive religious content
- Containing anti-UAE content
- Proxy servers and websites devoted to virtual private networks
- Platforms for communication that are not licensed (Skype, WhatsApp, etc.)
Is Skype and a VPN compatible with public WiFi?
When traveling, you’ll have to cope with more than just the government’s internet limitations; a slew of public WiFi hotspots have their own list of blocked websites. The good news is that you can easily tunnel your traffic via servers in another location by connecting to a VPN. This is unaffected by the UAE’s online filtering, which means you may access almost anything as long as you use a server located in a nation with a generally open internet.
In other words, if you’re on public WiFi and want to unblock Skype, just connect to your VPN. Bear in mind that if there is any uncertainty about the legality of doing so in your region, it is better to do a preliminary investigation.
How can I remove my Skype call history when in the United Arab Emirates?
It’s really easy to erase Skype chats and individual messages. Indeed, all you need to do is right-click on the item you want to remove (or press and hold on a mobile device) and choose “Remove or Delete discussion.” This is not a perfect procedure, and an investigator will be able to recover evidence of your deleted messages, but it should be enough for a preliminary examination.
Is Skype for Business available in the United Arab Emirates?
Normally, Skype for Business, like the majority of other foreign VoIP services, is entirely restricted. The UAE did ease restrictions on many popular applications in March 2020 to allow residents to communicate more readily during a pandemic, but this is a temporary measure that is likely to be reviewed again. As a result, you’d often need to select a government-approved communications software or use a VPN to use Skype for Business in the UAE.
Can I purchase Skype Credit in the United Arab Emirates?
Although purchasing Skype Credit is theoretically available in the UAE, you’ll need a VPN and a payment method from other recognized countries. You may replenish your balance by purchasing a Skype gift card, which is readily accessible online and can be sent to your mailbox in minutes. Simply ensure that you are ordering a digitally delivered card and not one that must be physically sent to you.
Unfortunately, even after adding Skype Credit to your account, you are not out of the woods. Many customers in the UAE report sporadic connectivity while using Skype credit to call landlines and mobile devices. However, PC-to-PC conversations seem to work OK, at least for an hour or so.
What kind of video calls are available in the UAE?
Most international video conferencing software does not work in the UAE. However, there are a few services that function well and are always accessible. BOTIM, C’Me, Voico, Smoothy, and HiU Messenger are a few examples.