It’s been said that necessity is the mother of invention. When I askÂ my co-workers back home if they’ve heard of Skype, most respond with something like “What’s Skype?” In the U.S., unless you make frequent calls overseas, you don’t need to worry about VoIP technology like Skype. Long distance phone calls are generally cheap or free, depending on your phone plan.
But if you live in Dubai like my co-worker Laurie, calls can get expensive. And so, out of necessity, people learn about Vonage, Skype and other VoIP solutions. Which is cool. I love this stuff. I use Skype regularly and prefer the call quality to my regular phone.
Unfortunately for her (and the other 900,000 expats living in Dubai — about 80% of the population), the national telecom company Etisalat started blocking Skype. Yahoo! Messenger filled the gap for a while, then they found a way to block voice calls on that, too.
I realize that phone companies don’t like the idea of losing revenue, but they need to get onboard or get left behind. They’d do better to provide a decent, competitive VoIP solution themselves, much like AT&T Callvantage. Eventually, technology will provide a way around their blocks, and they’ll get passed by.