UPDATE: You can currently access the skype website in UAE and you can download and create and account. Currently you can also make skype to skype calls while in UAE. HOWEVER, when you try to make a skype to phone call you may notice that it rings and rings and rings…. The fact of the matter is that the service is blocked and you are fooled in believing that it is actually ringing and working properly. Buy a VPN and use skype to actually make the call go through and save money on international calls.
Since 2003, Skype has been providing VoIP services all over the globe and has become a digital communications giant, but individuals will still find signing up for Skype in the UAE to be a significant challenge. Since the service is blocked by the state-controlled ISP’s, accessing Skype can be difficult but it is not impossible for those who use a VPN.
Before you can use Skype in Dubai, you must first have a Skype account. In many cases, expats arriving in the UAE from countries such as the US and UK will already have a Skype account that has been registered in their home country. In this case, it is a simple matter of unblocking the actual Skype app so the user can log in. If they don’t already have an account and need to create one from within the UAE, things are a little more detailed.
Creating a Skype account in the UAE
Let’s assume that you are working in Dubai or visiting the UAE as a tourist. There are those back at home that you would like to stay in touch with, talk to in real time, and even share photos of your trip with. International calls and text messages can be very expensive so you want to explore a more affordable option. Skype is a pretty good option, but you quickly learn that Skype is restricted in the UAE. Where do you go from there?
Hopefully, you purchased a VPN from VPNaccounts.com before you left the US. You’re going to need it now. We always advise individuals to secure their VPN access before departure in the event that VPN provider websites are blocked in the host country. A second thing you might already have discovered: doing a Google search on this topic will lead you to a lot of fly-by-night websites who promise information but are really just trying to trap you in a sales pitch. They don’t really offer any practical advice for the process from start to finish. That’s what makes us different. Sure, we want you to use our VPN service but if you already have a VPN we still want to provide some useful directions.
There are a couple of ways you can do this, one of which is pretty seamless and quick, but the first thing you need to do is connect to the US (or UK) server provided by your VPN. Ideally, you want to use the server associated with your home country. For the purposes of illustration, we’ll use the US as an example. Once you have your VPN connection established, navigate to www.skype.com. At this point, you’ll notice that Skype proceeds through some redirects that are designed to land you on your language’s Skype page. That’s right, Skype is using your IP to identify your location. If you have connected to your US VPN properly, you’ll land on a page for US visitors. In the address bar of your browser you will see:
The “en” at the end of the url obviously stands for English. Skype has made sure that you arrived at a page in a language they know you understand. Now, in the top right hand corner of the screen you will see the following:
Once you click JOIN US, you’ll be taken to a page that will allow you to register an account. It will look like this:
You might remember that we told you we were going to mention a seamless and quick way to create your Skype account in the UAE? Well, this is it. If you have an existing Microsoft or Facebook account, all you need to do is use that account to sign in to Skype. If you don’t have one you can follow the steps, enter your information, and create your account. Using Microsoft or Facebook to sign in is much quicker, but creating an account the old fashioned way is almost as fast.
The VPN makes it possible
Signing up for Skype in the UAE/Dubai is made possible by using a VPN. We want to make that very clear. You need to understand that each time you intend to use Skype in the UAE, your VPN connection is established. Otherwise, you will encounter the Etisalat block of Skype. Something to also be aware of: using a VPN on your laptop or desktop computer does not protect your mobile device! You’ll also need to configure your device’s VPN client with the information we provide and ALWAYS use the VPN on your device before using Skype. If you try to access it in Dubai without a VPN, using only your phone provider’s 3G or 4G data service, you could be putting your account at risk if anyone determines that you logged on from a laptop in the US a few minutes ago while your mobile device tells Skype you are in the UAE.