Blocking VoIP in the MENA region  


From Morocco to Jordan, governments throughout the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) have blocked access to voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services, such as Skype, WhatsApp calling, and others. VoIP blocking often occurs to protect the profits of the incumbent telecom operators, many of which have a monopoly and are at least partially owned by the government.

Recently, a member of the Internet governance community asked iGmena if there was a resource that tracked and mapped where VoIP is blocked in the MENA region. After searching for such a resource and coming up empty handed, we decided to make our own such resource based on our previous research (e.g., see here and here), and upload it to our website. We officially unveiled the map at iGmena Summit 2016, but now we are very excited to post it here as well.

As we discussed at the Summit, consider this "version 1." As you can see, it only highlights countries in the MENA region where some form of VoIP blocking occurs -- supported by references. This does not mean that all VoIP services are blocked, however. For instance, Skype and Viber work in Egypt while WhatsApp Voice does not. Yet, we hope this will at least shed some basic light on VoIP blocking in the region, and invite anyone to take this chart and improve upon it (a big thanks goes out to amCharts.com for providing the mapping platform). 

You can find the .jpg version below. The .pdf version is located here: https://bit.ly/iGmenaVoIPBlockingMap.

For more information and sources, check out the following links:

1. https://www.igmena.org/Hangout-VoIP-vs-Mobile-Networks
2. https://www.igmena.org/admin/Mapping-VoIP-Service-Provider-Blockage-in-the-MENA-Region
3. https://www.igmena.org/VoIP-Ban-in-Morocco-the-Battle-of-Telecoms-Survival
4. https://www.igmena.org/Internet-Governance-in-the-MENA-Region-A-Brewing-Battleground
5. https://bit.ly/2baHIH3
6. https://opennet.net/research/regions/mena
7. http://thevoipreport.com/why-governments-block-voip/
8. https://nordvpn.com/blog/why-is-skype-blocked-in-certain-countries/