Egyptian regulator confirms Skype ban on mobile Internet connections

Internet

Egypt’s National Telecommunication Regulatory Authority (NTRA) has confirmed that the country has begun enforcing a ban on international calls made via mobile Internet connections, Reuters reports. So it is now in the slightly strange position of allowing Skype calling from PCs but forbidding it from mobiles, thereby protecting the new incumbents, the mobile operators.

The ban applies to all three of Egypt’s mobile network operators – Egyptian Company for Mobile Services (MobiNil), Vodafone Egypt and Etisalat Mirs – and is expected to provide a much-needed boost to the fixed line revenue of monopoly landline provider, state-owned Telecom Egypt (TE).

Clarifying the situation, Amr Badawy, executive president of the NTRA, said: ‘The ban is on Skype on mobile internet, not on fixed, and this is due to the fact it is against the law since it bypasses the legal gateway.’ Under existing regulations all international calls must be routed via TE’s network. Despite mentioning Skype by name, it is understood that the regulator may extend the ban to other services, with

Badawy noting: ‘We are targeting any illegal voice traffic on the mobile (internet). Any traffic outside the international gateway is against the law.’ It remains unclear however whether such a restriction will be extended to fixed line Internet connections.

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