If you are an iPad or iPhone owner living in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, or other parts of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), then you’ll be obtusely aware that Apple’s FaceTime feature is blocked in that region due to local regulatory rules.
It’s been that way for a long time. That could be about to change with reports that Apple is in direct talks with the UAE government to unblock FaceTime calling.
Apple device owners in the United Arab Emirates have generally resigned themselves to not being able to access FaceTime over the last few years.
This has been down to the fact that local regulations don’t allow internet video and audio services to take place, meaning services like FaceTime are immediately banned. Apple has still sold and provided hardware and other services in the UAE but FaceTime has been one major feature which is never accessible. Hopefully, thanks to the ongoing and active discussions with the federal government, Apple will be able to finally announce that FaceTime is available in the region.
It’s a hugely complex situation for Apple and will involve a lot of negotiation with the government in order to lift the ban. The UAE currently forces it’s populous to use video-chat functionality and services by a small hand-picked selection of terrestrial providers from localized companies, which are offered for a charge and has also taken exception to companies like Apple trying to offer services like FaceTime as part of a hardware purchase with no additional subscription charges.
Even though the laws in the country are strict in this regard, devices sold in other regions and then brought into the UAE work fine with FaceTime as long as they do use VPN.
Hopefully, those days will be a thing of the past in the not too distant future. Given Apple’s recent earnings call, it’s plainly obvious that the company doesn’t have a problem shifting its hardware or selling iPhones around the world. However, FaceTime is a huge appeal for a lot of people given the fact that it’s an extremely easy and free-of-charge method of video-based communication.
Having this feature unlocked and readily available in the UAE would immediately make Apple’s iPhone and other devices a lot more appealing in that region.
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