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Personal VoIP is confirmed as legal in Qatar

There has recently been confusion in Qatar as to whether VoIP calls are legal or not, so much so that the country's Supreme Council for Information and Communications Technology (ictQATAR) has had to issue a statement confirming that such calls are indeed legal. 

The Government of Qatar has had to step in to clarify the legality of VoIP calls in the country. Considerable confusion had existed as to the legal position but a spokesperson for the Supreme Council for Information and Communications Technology (ictQATAR) has confirmed legality: “There are no laws or rules that prohibit the use of the VoIP technology within the State of Qatar.” In fact, personal use is perfectly acceptable for enterprises and individuals alike. 

The confusion may have arisen from the country's two-year-old Telecommunications Law Clause 34. This states that a licence from ictQATAR is absolutely essential, as it is "illegal for any person to provide telecommunication services to the public for a direct or indirect fee without a licence issued by ictQATAR." The effect of this clause is that only one company is currently empowered to supply VoIP, namely Qatar Telecom (Qtel). There is, however, one upcoming rival, Vodafone Qatar, at present preparing for operations in Qatar.

Further confusion may have come from the fact that one VoIP call company (JustVoIP) had broken the law in selling vouchers to VoIP users - even though topping up by credit card for personal use is legal. There is no question that if VoIP had been ruled as illegal there would have been major financial as well as communication implications for Qataris. At the very bluntest, VoIP is cheaper than other systems and on occasion free. To get set up on VoIP a monthly subscription of US$55 for broadband is normally all that is necessary. Skype comes to mid here. Even if you do have to pay by the minute, then the US$0.06 charge for India is not going to break the bank. 

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