Voice over Internet Protocol or VoIP is a communication system that allows users to receive and make video calls, voice calls and voice messages over Wi-Fi or mobile data. It is a simple method that uses known and universal mobile apps such as social media apps of today. One of the most used app for VoIP is Messenger, FaceTime, and WhatsApp, and these apps allow free voice messaging to most parts of the globe. However, VoIP on these apps is banned from some countries and areas in the Middle East. The government has long blocked it for security reasons.
In Oman, VoIP providers should register their accounts in requirement with the law for them to operate in the area. These “banned” VoIP apps are including WhatsApp calls, FaceTime, Skype, and Google Hangouts. Accordingly, the main reason for strict censoring of VoIP in the region is to ensure that they can pay taxes and generate jobs to the people of Oman.
The contribution of VoIP providers in a country is enormous although seemingly unfair for other online communication platforms like chat services and email which almost has the same purpose as VoIP systems. But the government is already firm on their decision to block only these VoIP services for years now.
On the economic aspect of blocking these free services from VoIP providers is that they get to profit from calls made and received locally and internationally. These video and voice calls are undeniably expensive if made not from apps that provide VoIP.
Meanwhile, people who still would want to use VoIP for free in countries that have blocked these free services do have an alternative way to bypass the censorship made by Omantel although it is an illegal act. Nevertheless, registering accounts may also have risks. What residents do not know is that the authorities are keeping their data and personal information.
However, it is legal and safer by law. If in any case users are already registered, several VPN services provide higher security and user safety when browsing the internet or using VoIP services.
Most VoIP users in blocked countries side to both legal and illegal ways and the risks for them are just getting higher even if the authorities’ goal is to protect them, and they instead acquire free VPN services that are risky for them. Other VPN services that are free and unregistered may be dangerous for a lot of security reasons.