Microsoft and Apple reportedly opened talks with authorities in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in a bid to have a ban on independent third party video and voice calls lifted, while Iran hit rival Telegram with a ban on national security grounds.

Currently voice and video calls on Microsoft’s Skype and Apple’s FaceTime are banned in the UAE, along with similar app-based VoIP services, unless providers reach an agreement with one of the country’s mobile operators to run the service over a licensed network.

However, following investments from both companies into the region the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority entered talks on revising its policy, Gulf News reported.

Microsoft plans to open data centres in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, while Apple invested in retail sites in the country.

Although video and voice calling services over third party apps fall foul of regulation, messaging services are allowed alongside operator-approved voice services. Both of the country’s licensed operators – Etisalat and du – include access to apps Botim and C’Me as a bolt-on option on some tariffs.

Telegram issues
While progress is apparently being made by big-name app brands in the UAE on service expansion, rival Telegram’s regulatory issues appeared to worsen.

Following a well-publicised ban in Russia, Reuters reported Telegram has fallen foul of authorities in Iran, which slapped the company with a ban on national security grounds. The move follows a court judgement the app had been used to spread anti-establishment propaganda, promote anti-government protests and distribute material deemed inappropriate.