When everyone is talking about the benefits of VoIP, some countries are blocking VoIP calls. In the era of technology, some might not understand why these countries are blocking such an innovative and cost-effective phone system.
Different countries have different reasons behind this ban. If in the case of websites, the reason for being banned was disrespectful content. In the case of VoIP, this cannot be a sufficient explanation. People want to make the most of VoIP services: cheap calls, no hardware, easy to contact others, mobility, etc. Let’s try to puzzle everything together one by one.
COUNTRIES THAT BLOCKED VOIP CALLS
In September 2017, Saudi Arabia announced it lifted its ban on all applications that provide voice and video communications over the Internet. That same year, Qatar made VoIP more difficult to access for its people. Then UAE, Morocco, etc. Can you see a common thing among these countries besides the fact they are Middle East countries? Yes, all of them have expat populations and foreign workers who communicate with their family and friends. But we will talk about this later.
Before passing to the main reasons of blocking VoIP in certain countries, let’s find out where VoIP calls are blocked.
- North Korea
Can you believe it? And yet this is not the whole list. You can check that here. We were not sure about other countries, that’s why we decided not to include them into this list. Other countries such as Panama introduced taxes on calls, including VoIP calls for sure.
REASONS OF BLOCKING VOIP CALLS
Many countries such as Egypt have brought the reason that VoIP services cut telecom companies revenue and the government agreed by banning user access. However, Egypt is not the only country to claim financial loss as the main reason for shutting down VoIP services. Among these countries are Morocco. Though Morocco does not accept the fact that they shutdown VoIP because of losing revenue, they claimed that VoIP services did not hold the correct licensing. The residents were not happy about this ban. They believe the main reason is financial loss.
Such countries block VoIP to encourage/oblige people to use PSTN and send regular text message to recover their loss of revenue.
Of course, the second reason is monopolization. While some governments ban VoIP calls because of lost revenue, in other countries such as Saudi Arabia VoIP is blocked by telecom companies in hopes of monopolizing the industry. It is obvious that if a telecom company has a monopoly over telecommunications and Internet services it will not allow VoIP services. Why? Well, VoIP allows free nationwide, low cost international calls, and free or cheaper instant messaging. Telecom companies block VoIP because they will have a drastic drop on revenue from overseas calls.
Sometimes they can shutdown VoIP apps such as WhatsApp to spread unreliability among VoIP services.
In countries such as Dubai where there are a lot of foreign workers it is not beneficial for telecom companies to allow VoIP calls. They simply block them to benefit from high international calling rates. The same among other Middle Eastern countries like Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Syria, etc.
Some countries block VoIP services because of terrorist threats. Government required to design a plan according to which it will have an access to the data of all communication companies and monitor all the calls. Companies that will not comply with the regulations will be banned to work in that country.
The same issues are found in Paraguay and Pakistan, where almost the same reason was behind banning VoIP calls.
WhatsApp was banned in Brazil twice in five months because Facebook (in case you don’t know, Facebook bought WhatsApp in 2014) did not want to provide personal information to help criminal investigation. However, these legal issues are too publicized. The same problem occurred in the U.S. with WhatsApp. It refused to provide personal information to the government, claiming that user privacy is much more important for them than their business.
People in these countries cannot use VoIP services and experience its benefits. Some countries claim that if VoIP can solve the problem with privacy, they will remove the ban. Do you think that VoIP still needs to worry about security? It has implemented huge security technologies to make VoIP calls are as secure as possible. Anyway, the point is that almost 40% of world population are not using VoIP and they are not happy with that at all.