June 24, 2017
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We Heard That You Can Now Make Calls Through Whatsapp

Heads up, Emirati Whatsapp users: rumour has it that you can now use the voice and video-calling features of the app. How true is it and will it last long?

An early “Eid al Fitr Gift”?

Photo courtesy of TechCrunch

According to various sources, a global update overrode the app’s previous settings. Because of this, Emiratis were treated to a surprise upon opening Whatsapp on Thursday morning.

A member of out staff was able to call a local contact on Thursday, however by Friday evening, the service is no longer available.

Since its launch last November, the well-known app has prevented users in the UAE region from enjoying its features to the fullest. Even Viber, Facebook, and Snapchat are barred from sharing their call features in the area. Hence, the glitch caused a stir among Emiratis and UAE residents alike. The topic was trending for hours on Twitter, wherein one user from Abu Dhabi said, “we must all make as many international phone calls as possible today.”

Why are we barred anyway?

Photo courtesy of CommsMEA

The UAE Telecommunications Regulatory Authority Call effectively blocks functions from various internet calling services. Over the years, various individuals have voiced out their disagreement to this seemingly unfair rule. Saeed Al Remeithi from the Federal National Council denounced the practice. He said, “Technology is advancing rapidly in the world today and we cannot miss out on its latest services and features. They are of utmost importance to any UAE resident.”

Whatsapp has declined to comment on the glitch, but it seems that this feature will only be temporary. For instance, telecommunications providers du and etisalat would lose business if free internet calls become permanently activated.

Photo courtesy of Parhlo

Despite that, Emiratis still remain positive. They’re hoping that the free internet calls would remain accessible at least until the end of the holidays. This way they can get in touch with their families abroad this season.

Update

As of press time, UAE Telecommunications Regulatory Authority maintains that Whatsapp voice and video calls are
still not allowed. According to agency such an event will require coordination with registered telecom providers.