You are studying abroad and wish to see your family or video chat with your friends. Which web service do you use? A popular choice for many would be Skype, a web solution that has bridged the communication gap across continents with an affordable video call solution. “I will Skype you” – needs no explanation, as Skype service is so popular it has become a verb in our vocabulary, used interchangeably when talking about video calls.
However, in some countries Skype is blocked. This can be frustrating if other alternatives offering similar service are blocked too. Countries like China, Syria, Oman, Turkey and even Malaysia block Skype nationwide. While many parts of Asia, Caribbean, and the Middle East often experience inconsistent or partial Skype service blocks.
Each region, has a different motives and policies that influence Skype service blocks.
- Majority of the time the blocks are profit driven. Most of Central and South American countries experience blocks where the same provider offers both internet and telephone services. As Skype offers free video calls over the internet, some telcos fear for lost revenue and block all VoiP (Voice over IP) services like Skype. Unfortunately some countries have telco monopolies, where 1 provider controls all of the communications and can lobby policies like VoiP call bans nationwide. Belize is one example, where Skype is blocked by the only telco there is.
- Some countries oppose the service independence and no phone tracking policy that Skype promotes. In Egypt, for example, the Skype service block has been implemented because of the unofficial policy of the government that “they will block anything which they cannot monitor”.
- Licensing roadblocks and specific national policies might be set up that inexplicably block the service leaving one to speculate. For example, UAE, has blocked Skype owing to their inability to obtain license from UAE TRA (Telecommunication Regulatory Authority). License has to be obtained for running VOIP services and the fee is very high. Also arguing that Skype and similar services
So, how do you access Skype when you’re in such a region?
Unblock Skype using a VPN!
This is probably the most common and easiest way to bypass the block and access Skype. A VPN tunnels all your request through a secure pathway, bypassing government and the ISPs surveillance. All your online data gets encrypted, preventing snoopers from monitoring it.
Further, the costs can decrease significantly if you use a USA server to make a phone call, instead of a video call with one of your contacts. NordVPN provides you with the option to choose from a list of servers (500+s servers, across 51 countries). You can choose either a server nearest to you to gain good speed or if you wish to lower the call costs then you can choose a country’s IP where the call rates are cheaper for e.g. the USA.
The easier way to set up a VPN is to download the VPN Client. You just need to download an app for your device, install it, and then hit connect – unblocking the popular video chat service!
List of countries where VoiP services (including Skype) are blocked:
- North Korea
- Belize – Skype is blocked by Belize Telecommunications Limited- allows VoIP calling through their own services.
- Brazil – Brasil Telecom blocks Skype – allows VoIP calling through their own services.
- Caribbean – countries that use Cable & Wireless (largest telecommunications provider) are blocked from using Skype.
- China – Blocks all VoIP services except via China Unicom and China Telecom (suspected of monitoring the network traffic way to diligently)
- Cuba – with poor internet infrastructure, access to computers is limited, the Skype service is extremely expensive and the Internet is very slow.
- Egypt – known to be blocked during times of political unrest.
- EU – There is continuous debate about Skype encryption and policy discussions about Skype and posibilites to wiretap it. Skype available in the whole EU.
- Iran – mixed reports about Skype being available. Seems the connectivity is often interrupted, making the service unusable.
- Jordan – blocks Skype and VoIP for
- Mexico – Some ISPs block VoiP services.
- Myanmar – Available under certain restrictions (specific region, time and cost are determining factors for Skype use permissions)
- Pakistan – Skype calls are monetized and expensive at that.
- Panama – Have a Skype tax.
- Syria – limited access.
- Tunisia – similar to Egypt, service availability varies.
- Vietnam – limited access. Many internet cafes have a proxy service set up to facilitate Skype calls.
- Russia – Main telecommunication company petitioning the government to block all VoIP services.
- Venezuela – a few ISPs have been reported to block Skype as they offer their own Voip service
Since the list is constantly changing – your input would be greatly appreciated. Let us know if you have experienced Skype block in your region in the comments section below. Thank you!