Egypt bans international Internet voice calls

Cairo, March 24: Egypt has banned international calls made through mobile Internet connections, one of Egypt’s top three mobile phone operators said on Tuesday, which would include internet Skype calls.

“The National Telecom Regulatory Authority issued a decision to stop VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) and we stopped it on Saturday,” Vodafone Egypt’s external affairs director Khaled Hegazy said.

The ban applies to Egypt’s three mobile operators, Vodafone, Mobinil and Etisalat.

Egyptian law states that all international calls must pass through state-owned Egypt Telecom, which recorded lower than expected earnings in 2009.

The ban has not been extended to international voice calls made over fixed-line Internet, such as through DSL.

Skype and other providers offering VoIP services bypass standard telephone networks by channeling voice and video calls over the Internet, allowing users to make calls free of charge.

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