These video and audio calling apps in the UAE can help you connect with your family, friends, and coworkers
17 August 2022| Last updated on 1 September 2022
Using a VPN can fetch you a fine of up to AED 2 million, according to UAE laws on rumours and cybercrime.
As an expat abroad, it can be tough when family and loved ones live far away.
Online video and audio calling providers (also known as VoIP apps) are a great way to spend time together when you're unable to do so in person. Whether you're trying to stay connected with friends and family, or scheduling an online meeting for work, it's recommend that you keep a VoIP app or programme on your phone or computer.
While there are plenty of video and calling apps to choose from, unfortunately several options are not available in the UAE unless you use a VPN (virtual private network), such as Skype or Facebook Messenger calls.
Since using a VPN is illegal as per UAE Decree Law no. (34) of 2021, we've compiled a list of video and voice calling apps you can use in the UAE without a VPN. Some in the list are free while other providers may require payment.
1.) Google Meet
Google Meet is free to use in the UAE and doesn't require VPN. Great for meetings, classes, and generally keeping in contact with friends and family, Google Meet allows you to share your screen and choose from a variety of green screen backgrounds.
One-to-one calls can go on for up to 24 hours, however group calls are capped at a 60-minute limit.
Zoom is another video and audio calling app that doesn't require a VPN, however calls have a maximum time limit of 40 minutes each.
BOTIM is another video and voice calling app that works in the UAE without a VPN. Although it's free to download, UAE residents will need to subscribe to a paid internet calling plan from any local telecommunications provider in order to use this app.
For more information about the app, visit: botim.me
4.) Skype Business
For businesses in the UAE, you can use Skype Business to make audio and video calls. The programme itself is free to download, but charges a fee for monthly use.
GoChat is Etisalat's free-to-download voice and video calling app, which also offers additional features such as transferring money, paying bills, and ordering food.
Users will need to pay for a package to make international voice and video calls through this app.
Another internet voice and video calling app we can recommend would be Voico. UAE residents can make free calls and send messages to friends and family anywhere in the world, but you can also pay for a subscription to access more features.
7.) Microsoft Teams
Popular among businesses, schools, and universities, Microsoft Teams offers a video conferencing option for UAE residents for free, with group meetings capped at 60 minutes.
Paid packages are also available with Microsoft Teams if you want to access more features.
A more popular option among teenagers and young adults, Discord is a VoIP and instant messaging social platform where users can create 'servers' for various interests, groups, friends, school projects, etc.
Other websites claim that Discord is banned in the UAE, however we found that it's still usable without a VPN, though the video and audio quality may often be a bit janky. It's a hit or miss, which is why we've placed it last on the list.