Is WhatsApp Banned in Dubai?

Is WhatsApp Banned in Dubai?

Yes, Dubai imposed an official ban on Voice over Internet Protocol services on WhatsApp in 2016 and limited its functions to only text, photo and audio exchanges. Any attempt to make video or voice calls results in a message stating that such features fall under the Prohibited Content Categories of the UAE's Internet Access Management Policy. As the Internet is monitored by the Telecommunication Regulatory Authority, some features of WhatsApp are believed to be capable of putting national security at risk

What is VoIP and why is it banned?

VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) is a cost-effective technology that allows you to make voice and video calls over the internet. Popular VoIP services such as WhatsApp, Skype, and Facetime are banned in Dubai because they compete with the state-owned telecom companies that provide traditional telephone services. Secondly, these VoIP services are often encrypted and difficult to monitor, making it a potential risk. 

Outcome of banning WhatsApp

The ban has proved beneficial for the country's telecom operators, who were gradually losing revenue as consumers gravitated towards VOIP services like WhatsApp to make free calls over the internet. Dubai's ban can be interpreted as part of the UAE's broader strategy to encourage competition and innovation in the telecommunications industry. Moreover, the introduction of foreign companies with better telecommunication services can push traditional telecom providers to up their game. Ultimately, the goal of banning the service has created a more dynamic telecommunications industry that benefits consumers as well as businesses in Dubai.

What should I use instead of WhatsApp in Dubai?


With BOTIM, you can stay connected with your loved ones and send them all the selfies and videos you want. You can make top-notch audio and video calls that will make you feel like you're right there with them. In addition, BOTIM provides end-to-end encryption for all its features, ensuring that your conversations can be private and secure.


C’ME is a communication platform developed by Etisalat, a leading telecommunications company in the UAE. It is particularly popular in Dubai, as it allows you to make crystal-clear voice and video calls, even in remote areas that do not have a stable Internet connection. The ability to host group chats and conference calls with up to 25 people, it can help you host meetings and be in sync with your team even from Dubai.


The USP of this application is that it allows you to make international calls, while being easy on the pocket. You can customize your interface, including adding custom backgrounds, team members, and chat channels. With VOICO, you can share screens, and files, with ease, making it a go-to application for your corporate needs.


Zoom is a video conferencing platform that lets you host and attend online meetings, webinars, and virtual events. In recent years, the platform has risen to prominence owing to people preferring to work from home. Users can schedule and join meetings with ease, and it provides a range of tools for collaboration and engagement, such as breakout rooms, whiteboarding, and polling. You can enjoy a whole range of features, including creative virtual backgrounds that have gone viral on the Internet in the past.

Google Hangouts

Hangouts is a communication platform developed by Google that allows users to send messages, make audio and video calls, and hold virtual meetings with up to 25 participants. You can access it via your mobile or laptop, and enjoy features like messaging, voice and video calls, screen sharing, and sharing photos and videos. It is also integrated with other Google services, such as Google Drive, Google Calendar, and Google Meet, which makes it easy to collaborate and schedule meetings.

Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams, part of the Microsoft 365 suite of tools, proves to be a reliable form of communication when in Dubai. With Teams, you can hold virtual hangouts with audio and video conferencing, enjoy instant messaging, and tools like Microsoft Planner and Microsoft Whiteboard, to help keep track of your work. This collaboration platform also has two-factor authentication and data encryption so all your conversations and files are safe and sound.


WeChat is an app developed by the Chinese tech giants Tencent and has over 1 billion monthly active users. WeChat caters to all your communication needs, where you can enjoy basic features along with its social networking side, with features like Moments, where you can keep your friends and family updated. WeChat has a payment feature called WeChat Pay, which allows users to make mobile payments and send money to each other.


Webex is a web conferencing and videoconferencing platform that was launched way back in 1995. You can share your screen, share files, and even record your meetings. One of the key advantages of the platform is its ability to support up to 100,000 participants per meeting. Its integrations with other tools like Microsoft Outlook and Google Drive make scheduling and sharing meetings a bit easier . You can opt for the free 90 day trial to check it out.


Is WhatsApp banned in Dubai?

WhatsApp is not officially banned in Dubai, but some features are restricted. You can send text messages, photos, audio messages on WhatsApp but can’t access features like voice and video calls due to Dubai's VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) regulations.

Can I still use WhatsApp to send messages in Dubai?

Yes, you can still use WhatsApp to send messages in Dubai. In addition, you can also share photos/ videos through chats. The messaging feature is not affected by the UAE's VoIP regulations.

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Are there any alternatives to using WhatsApp in Dubai?

Yes, there are several alternatives to using WhatsApp in Dubai, such as WeChat, Botim, Webex, and Google Hangouts. All these applications are an effective and reliable way to communicate in Dubai. You can enjoy top-notch audio and video calls, hold online meetings, webinars, and virtual events with these applications.

What are the consequences of using a VPN to access WhatsApp in Dubai?

It is important to use VPN at your own risk and discretion. We do not recommend using a VPN to access WhatsApp in Dubai. It goes against Dubai’s laws and regulations, and may result in legal consequences. However, there are several alternatives to WhatsApp that you can use, which offer effective and reliable services.

Can I use an Indian SIM in Dubai for WhatsApp?

Yes, an Indian SIM card can be used to access WhatsApp in Dubai. However, the use of certain features of WhatsApp, such as voice and video calls, may be blocked due to the UAE's VoIP regulations. Moreover, roaming charges may apply if you use an Indian SIM card in Dubai. It is best to check with your service provider prior to your visit, for information on any additional fees or restrictions that may apply when using an Indian SIM card in Dubai.

Which chat app is most used in Dubai?

Botim is a chat app that is one of the most used in Dubai. It benefits from being one of the few VoIP apps that has partnerships with several telecom providers in the UAE. A significant number of people in the country use it for making voice and video calls, and enjoy its other features such as end-to-end encryption.


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