Unless you have been living under a rock, you are probably aware that free internet calling services such as Apple’s FaceTime, Google Duo and WhatsApp calling have long been banned in the UAE, with Skype joining the list just last year. But that does not stop people from looking for alternatives since the benefits of internet calling, like unlimited voice and video calls to friends and family anywhere in the world, are hard to ignore – even if they come at a cost.
Presently, only two telecom providers – Du and Etisalat – offer paid internet calling services to the citizens of the UAE via certain supported applications. Here’s all you need to know about the plans and how you can subscribe:
Etisalat and Du offer two types of internet calling plans to their subscribers:
• Internet calling pack for mobile: If you have a postpaid or pre-paid connection, you can subscribe to this plan at AED 50/month (+VAT) to make calls on your mobile data package.
• Internet calling plan for home: If you have a Etisalat or Du Wi-Fi connection, you can subscribe to this plan at AED 100/month (+VAT) to make calls on multiple devices using your home internet connection.
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How do I subscribe?
Mobile users can activate the service either through My Etisalat app or by texting ‘ICP’ to 1012.
Wi-Fi users can activate the service through any one of the following means:
• My Etisalat app
• Calling 125 from your landline
• Calling 101 or texting ‘EICP’ to 1010 from your registered mobile number
To end the subscription, SMS ‘CCP’ to 1012 if you are a mobile subscriber or ‘C EICP’ to 1010 if you have a Wi-Fi connection.
Mobile users can activate the service by sending an SMS ‘Netcall’ to 1355.
Wi-Fi users can activate the service by calling 04 390 5555 or visiting the du shop. Similarly, you can also visit the Du website and provide details such as your name, account number, etc to start your subscription.
To end the subscription, SMS ‘Stop Netcall’ to 1355 if you are a mobile subscriber or dial 04 390 5555 if you have a Wi-Fi connection.
Etisalat and Du both support BOTIM and C’Me. However, Etisalat users can also use HiU Messenger. All the apps are easily available on App Store and Google Play Store.
How will I be billed?
Prepaid users: The tariff will be automatically deducted from your mobile account every month and the service will remain active until you end the subscription.
Postpaid/Wi-Fi users: The tariff will be charged as part of your monthly bill and the service will remain active until you end the subscription.
In the first month, Etisalat will charge you on a pro-rata basis until the end of your billing cycle. Meanwhile, Du will charge you the full amount in the joining month, irrespective of when you activate the subscription.
Does a mobile internet calling plan grant me free data?
No, you are not entitled to any free or additional data on purchasing a mobile internet calling plan. You will be charged for the data consumed by the supported apps during internet calls.
Can I subscribe to the mobile and Wi-Fi plans at the same time?
Yes, you can subscribe to both types of internet calling plans and will be charged separately for each.
Whom can I call through this service?
You can call any user who has the same application as you.
Can I use the supported apps to make calls while connected to public Wi-Fi?
No, you cannot. Internet calling services can only be used on your home Wi-Fi network or mobile data package, depending on your type of subscription.