VoIP not part of Arab Spring

The Arab Spring may have shaken authority and planted more seeds of democracy in the Middle East, but Voice over Internet Protocol is still a touchy subject in the region.

Despite the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA)of Oman saying that VoIP is permitted, the technology is unavailable in most parts of the country.

The local telecomms authority cites security concerns. VoIP is being increasingly used by criminals as it allows them to communicate instantly but anonymously.

However it is just as likely that the TRA is worried about keeping their revenue rates in the face of low cost internet calling on VoIP services such as Skype.

TRA spokeswoman Nashiah Saud Al Kharusiah explained that lost revenue was an issue: “Since Skype and other VoIP servers are located abroad, they cannot be legally intercepted in Oman.

"Furthermore VoIP companies enable access to voice services without having to be licensed in Oman. That means a loss of taxes and royalties due to the Sultanate as well as job opportunities for Omani nationals in Oman."

She said that the authority would look to provide the necessary voice services through the proper legal channels.

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