In most of the world, Apple FaceTime calls have been part of normal iPhone usage for a long time. However, FaceTime calling has been banned within the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for a long time. According to reports, FaceTime calls started working without any official announcement on Sunday.
FaceTime began working with no official announcement, and as of writing, there has been no official word from the UAE Telecommunications and Digital Government Regulatory Authority. Apple has also made no official comment on the matter. However, journalists working with the Associated Press have reported they could make FaceTime voice and video calls with high quality to users inside the UAE and in other countries.
The UAE has been blocking Internet and video calling apps for almost as long as the apps have been around. FaceTime isn’t the only video and voice calling app that has been blocked. The UAE has also blocked other apps, including WhatsApp.
Due to the block, iPhones and Apple computers sold within the UAE don’t include the FaceTime app. However, if the block has been lifted and the calling service being functional isn’t a mistake, the FaceTime app could certainly be rolled out within the country in the near future. Interestingly, while FaceTime began working over the weekend, WhatsApp, Skype, and other services remained banned.
However, reports indicate that visitors to the World’s Fair kicked off in Dubai this month have been able to make calls using WhatsApp and FaceTime from the fairgrounds. It’s also worth noting that in the past, voice calling apps such as FaceTime have sporadically worked before being blocked again by changing Internet filters within the country. It’s too early to tell if FaceTime working is due to changed filters that will soon block the service again.