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What to do if Skype is blocked in your country

People love using Skype to video chat with their family and friends, but in some countries, Skype and other video calling software can be limited or completely blocked. Why would those countries want to block these services and is there an alternative?

Emily Green

Emily Green

Jul 05, 2021 · 3 min read

What to do if Skype is blocked in your country

Why certain countries block Skype

The censorship of Skype is widespread, and it can be frustrating if you can’t use the same software or apps you normally use in your home country. However, different countries have different policies that can get Skype banned, or keep Skype blocked.

  1. Shutting down competition

    Many blocks are profit-driven. Most countries in Central and South America block all VoIP (Voice over IP) and Skype because they have single providers that offer both internet and telephone services. Because Skype offers free video calls over the internet, some telcos lobby to have it blocked or block it themselves because they fear losing revenue.

  2. Tracking

    Some countries oppose service independence and want to track their citizens. Skype in Egypt, for example, is blocked due to unofficial government policies which insist on blocking services that can’t be monitored by the government. For this reason, Skype, and other encrypted apps are blocked, as they prevent government snooping.

Where are Skype and VoIP services blocked?

Central and South America:

  • Belize – Skype is blocked by Belize Telecommunications Ltd, which allows VoIP calling through their own services.
  • Brazil – Brazil Telecom blocks Skype but allows VoIP calling through their own services.
  • Caribbean – Countries that use Cable & Wireless (the largest telecommunications provider) are blocked from using Skype.
  • Cuba – With poor internet infrastructure, access to computers is limited. Skype service is extremely expensive and the internet is also slow.
  • Guyana – Blocked nationwide.
  • Mexico – Some ISPs block VoIP services.
  • Venezuela – A few Internet Service Providers (ISPs) have been reported to block Skype as they offer their own VoIP service.

Asia:

  • China – Is Skype blocked in China? Yes. All VoIP services except China Unicom and China Telecom are blocked (suspected of monitoring network traffic).
  • Myanmar – Available under certain restrictions (specific region, time and cost are determining factors).
  • North Korea – Blocked nationwide.
  • Pakistan – Skype calls are monetized and expensive.
  • Russia – The main telecommunications company is petitioning the government to block all VoIP services.
  • Vietnam – Limited access. Many internet cafes have proxy servers to facilitate Skype calls.

Middle East:

  • Iran – There are mixed reports about Skype use. It seems that connectivity is often interrupted, making the service unusable.
  • Jordan – Blocks Skype and VoIP for security reasons.
  • Kuwait – Blocked nationwide.
  • Oman – Blocked nationwide.
  • Qatar – Blocked nationwide.
  • Syria – Blocked nationwide.
  • Dubai – Skype is blocked in Dubai.
  • UAE – Skype is blocked in the UAE.

Africa:

  • Tunisia – Similarly to Egypt, service availability varies.
  • Egypt – Known to be blocked during times of political unrest.
  • Libya – Blocked nationwide.

European Union:

There is ongoing debate about Skype encryption and the possibility of wiretapping it. Skype is currently available throughout the EU.

Note: This list is constantly changing as some countries might have specific temporary blockages that are difficult to track.

How can I access Skype in these regions?

The most common and easiest way to bypass blocks and access Skype is to use a VPN. It will tunnel your requests through a secure pathway, encrypting it and bypassing most government and ISP surveillance. With NordVPN you can choose from more than 5000 servers in 59 countries. No matter where you are, find the most suitable server by checking the full list of server locations.

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