Banning VoIP apps in Qatar primarily affected expatriates and international residents as it strained their communication with loved ones abroad. Now, if you are an expatriate or foreign resident in Qatar and this affects you, do not worry. There are excellent solutions to unblocking VoIP apps in Qatar.
Since Qatar’s primary network service providers are expensive, using VoIP apps in Qatar is necessary. In addition, knowing to unblock VoIP apps is helpful because they are more economical and provide a sure way to contact relatives who live abroad.
Curious to know more about using VoIP apps in Qatar? This guide answers questions like “Which calling apps work in Qatar?”, “Does WhatsApp video calling work in Qatar?” and many more to help you.
A quick guide to unblocking VoIP apps in Qatar
Did this catch you at a busy time? And did you want a quick guide to unblocking VoIP apps in Qatar? Read the steps below.
- Sign up for a Qatar VPN account. We recommend ExpressVPN as it provides solid coverage in the Middle East and internationally.
- Download, install, and activate the VPN app on your device.
- Connect to a VPN server.
- Access VoIP apps such as WhatsApp, Skype, and others.
Why a VPN service is necessary to escape the VoIP ban in Qatar
One would think that the ban on VoIP apps in Qatar started recently. But the signs of a potential ban began over 14 years ago. So let us start from the beginning.
There was a rumor in 2008 that generated confusion in Qatar. Residents raised concerns over whether VoIP calls were permitted. It eventually required the Supreme Council of Information and Communications Technology, Qatar (ictQATAR) to issue a statement debunking the claims and verifying that VoIP calls were still wholly legal.
Now, nine years later, you’ll find that the Qatari government restricts VoIP calls without giving its residents a heads-up. That’s inadvertently repeating what happened in 2008, causing confusion. However, since apps like WhatsApp had been having issues, people believed the restriction was an ISP error at the time. They had no idea what was coming.
The government intensified the restrictions on Skype, Viber, WhatsApp, and many other VoIP services with access in Qatar. Internet Service Providers clarified that whatever issue had happened had nothing to do with their service networks but with the government. Still, there was no explanation by the government as to why there were restrictions on VoIP. And then, it became apparent to residents that the government was up to something.
Alongside Qatar, other states like Saudi Arabia, Oman, and the UAE also started employing restrictions, which alerted civil society organizations. However, in 2020, Qatar ignored the words of 29 civil society organizations to protest the pattern and put pressure on Qatar to ease the embargo.
Other states, Oman, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE, did lift the ban due to the COVID-19 crisis. And unlike Qatar, locals in Oman, Saudi Arabia, and UAE had full access to VoIP calls and apps. While to this day, it is still uncertain whether or not Qatar will lift the ban on VoIP apps.
Is it legal to use VPNs in Qatar?
This question is essential since VPNs are the solution to unlocking VoIP apps in Qatar. The simple answer is that VPNs are legal in Qatar, but there is a catch.
The government allows residents to use VPNs, but it is seen as illegal when residents use them to access materials which the government regards as a violation of Islamic and societal values.
The reason for the sudden restriction on VoIP apps still hasn’t been made known to the people by the government. Everyone is still living in what seems to be the new normal. As much as there is a restriction on VoIP apps, it still hasn’t been declared illegal by the government.
It is legal if there is a method for bypassing the restrictions and accessing VoIP apps in Qatar. Also, that means you do not risk prosecution or punishment if you find ways to access VoIP apps in Qatar.
Step-by-step instructions for unblocking VoIP services in Qatar
As established earlier, the way to unblock VoIP apps in Qatar is by using VPNs. All you need is a strong, stable VPN with high speed enough to ensure smooth calls on VoIP apps.
So, the following are the steps to take when you find a VPN that meets all good connectivity criteria.
1. Sign up for a VPN service for Qatar
Go to your browser and sign up for VPN offering services in Qatar.
2. Download and install a reliable VPN Service
Download and install the VPN on your computer from the official provider’s website. Or, if you intend to use a smartphone, download and install the VPN app from the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store.
3. Connect to VPN Server
Once you install, launch the app and finish the setup. Then, connect to a VPN server in a different country without restrictions on VoIP apps.
4. Access to VoIP Services
Comparison of the two best VPNs for VoIP access in Qatar
Since you are now informed about the steps to take to unblock the VoIP ban in Qatar using a VPN, it is also good that you also know the best VPNs to use in Qatar that can help you bypass the ban placed by the government.
This section discusses two of the most effective, stable, strong, fastest, and the leading VPNs ever to break through firewalls and grant access where otherwise there isn’t. These VPNs are ExpressVPN and Private Internet Access (PIA).
A highly reliable VPN solution that you can use for any online task without risking confidential data. It boasts robust unblocking features and unbreakable encryption standards.
- Seamlessly unblocks banned content all across the world
- Highly recommended VPN for Qatar residents
- Quickening-fast connection speed
- Does not have servers in Qatar
As per research, ExpressVPN has continued to prove itself as the foremost and leading VPN of all time. It is the best VPN to use if you wish to browse the internet securely, with over 3,000 servers across 94 nations. These servers are outside Qatar, but people in the Middle East make up for it by unblocking and getting through blocks on Alkass, Al-Jazeera, and other Arabian networks.
The VPN unblocks streaming websites like beIN Sports, Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and Hulu. Therefore, in Qatar, you can use the service to stream an endless selection of movies and TV series.
Furthermore, ExpressVPN is exceptionally compatible with VoIP apps such as WhatsApp, Skype, Telegram, and Viber. Consequently, it helps you gain access to these restricted social media networks in Qatar.
In addition, this VPN service contains the “Lightway” protocol. Lightway is ExpressVPN’s pioneering new VPN protocol that uses AES 256-GCM encryption to bypass VoIP firewalls undetected. It also features lightning-fast speeds, ensuring a buffer-free experience when you use VoIP apps.
Furthermore, Perfect forward secrecy (PFS), a security feature of ExpressVPN, shields encrypted messages from future attacks by routinely changing the keys. Using the keys prevents an intruder from decrypting your messages or viewing the history of your calls or messages.
It also has a no-log policy, which prevents service providers from monitoring what their customers do. As a result, it escapes cooperating with the government even when forced to.
A subscription to ExpressVPN is expensive, given the value it provides. Its monthly plan costs $12.95. The six-month plan costs $9.99 per month, and an annual plan costs $8.32 per month — understandably, the total for both is paid at once on purchase. The advantage of subscribing is that all subscriptions come with a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can get a refund if the service isn’t up to par.
Finally, you can connect up to five devices simultaneously with one subscription. And if you want to know how ExpressVPN works, a free trial allows you to explore for seven days.
2. Private Internet Access (PIA)
An exceptional VPN provider that unblocks VoIP apps fluently in Qatar while protecting your data. It also has multiple servers in Qatar.
- Can connect multiple devices simultaneously
- A cost effective service
- Boasts double VPN mode for extra security layer
- The UI is outdated and needs an update
Private Internet Access (PIA) is a private VPN service allowing users to connect to multiple locations. It also protects user data by rerouting internet traffic, encrypting data, and hiding IP addresses.
This VPN also comes with MACE, a system developed to help protect customer privacy and security by blocking unnecessary ads and potential malware. It also has protection against the leakage of DNS, IP address, and WebRTC information.
Private Internet Access has a connection speed of as much as 10 Gbps. Besides, it has over 35,000 RAM-based servers in over 80 countries worldwide, including Qatar. With such a large base of servers, it is difficult for streaming websites or VoIP apps to block specific VPN IP addresses.
Furthermore, the subscription for Private Internet Access is relatively affordable. The subscription plan ranges from a one-time monthly plan that costs $11.95, and a $3.33 per month yearly plan which amounts to $39.96 per year. In addition, one subscription can connect up to 10 devices simultaneously.
What is the best free VPN in Qatar for VoIP services?
Generally speaking, there are limitations to using something for free. Consider using a free VPN to bypass a government-imposed restriction on VoIP apps. Doesn’t it appear dangerous? We do not at all suggest it. Your IP address, message, video history, and much more information may all be at risk.
However, if you insist on discovering or learning about the best free VPN in Qatar for VoIP services, we won’t hesitate to list a few that offer value. Some free VPNs are ProtonVPN, TunnelBear, Windscribe, and Privado VPN.
However, we only propose ProtonVPN and Windscribe as superior alternatives to premium VPNs to stick with the best. ProtonVPN offers the same speed as Private Internet Access. It also contains features that conceal the user’s IP address, prevent DNS leaks, keep no logs, and a “NetShield” ad blocker.
Windscribe, on the other hand, has a vast network of servers in over 63 countries. It uses AES-256 encryption with SHA512 authentication and a 4096-bit RSA key. It also doesn’t keep user logs and prevents IP address and DNS leaks.
If you are short on financial resources, we recommend you take advantage of ExpressVPN and PIA’s free trials. Remember that you can cancel ExpressVPN at any time and receive a refund.
Reasons why a country would block VoIP apps
You might ask why a country would block VoIP apps and prevents its residents from accessing specific apps. Since Qatar has not given reasons for blocking VoIP apps, we found reasons other countries like Dubai and Kuwait blocked VoIP apps.
Dubai has a large expat population. Many people in the country desire to contact family and friends back home, necessitating international calling services. However, the country has two government-owned monopolies: Du and Etisalat. Similar circumstances also exist in Kuwait.
As a result, the local authorities are attempting to protect their earnings from phone conversations by prohibiting VoIP apps, as both emirates stand to lose a significant source of revenue.
Why the Qatari government blocked VoIP apps such as WhatsApp, Skype, and Facebook remains unresolved. That’s because the government has refused to give a reason or give in to pressure as Oman and Saudi Arabia did.
Given all that has transpired and is still happening, it is reasonable to assume that the Qatari government does not intend to explain the VoIP restrictions or even discuss their lifting. Therefore, at this point, locals must adapt to the situation.
Nevertheless, a Virtual Private Network (VPN) is an excellent solution for unblocking VoIP apps in Qatar. As a result, the best VPNs for Qatar are suitable for bypassing restrictions to make communication easier. Choosing the best VPN for you mostly depends on your budget and preferred features.
Unlike the traditional system of receiving calls, WhatsApp operates through Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) to make calls to another person. This means there are little to no charges when a person uses WhatsApp to make and receive calls.
The Qatari government has banned VoIP apps, and WhatsApp falls in this category. Hence, WhatsApp video calling does not work in Qatar. WhatsApp video calling can only work by going around the ban and using VPNs.
While there is a restriction on VoIP apps in Qatar, residents can use other calling apps to reach their families in the diaspora. Kalam Time and Pinngle Messenger are examples of callings apps that work in Qatar. Both apps have voice and video calling features and can be an alternative to WhatsApp.
Viber is an instant messaging app that can link multiple messages simultaneously, and just like WhatsApp, it uses VoIP. So, Viber does not work in Qatar. Like every other VoIP app, Viber is also banned.
Yes, you can make a free video call in Qatar, but it has a twist. Because of the ban on VoIP apps, it affects Skype. Video calls from one Skype user to another are free, but there have been constraints on this since the ban. Presently, the solution to getting free video calls in Qatar is bypassing the ban and using VPNs.