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DUBAI: WhatsApp video and voice calls went live in the UAE — quietly and without any official announcement — to the pleasant surprise of mobile phone users in the country, a report in Gulf News stated Wednesday.

Many confirmed to the newspaper that they can now use the features on the popular instant messaging app when connected to mobile roaming or WiFi network.

Users reported they could place calls using du or Etisalat networks within the UAE and abroad.

“The voice and the video are both clear from my end,” said one expatriate in Dubai who stumbled upon the new feature on Thursday.

The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) on Thursday said in a statement “there is no change in the UAE’s policy on voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services”.

The statement added: TRA reconfirms that any applications or services of this nature must be subject to the regulatory framework in force in the country.”

“What a surprise. I am so happy that I can now make free calls and video chats on Whatsapp. I thought this was banned in UAE. I hope the telecom operators will not discontinue this,” said Rachel, another expat from the Philippines.

A customer service representative from du said people can now make voice calls using the mobile app.

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