Thousands of Qatar residents have been struggling to use VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) services like Skype, Facetime and Whatsapp over the past few weeks.
The cause of the problem remains a mystery. While residents await clarification about what’s going on, some have been circumventing VoIP problems by using a VPN.
Others have found that a handful of less commonly known services still work. Here are some users’ suggestions:
Try a VPN
VPNs (virtual private networks) allow you to encrypt your internet activity, and disguise your physical location.
Unlike in the UAE, VPNs are not illegal in Qatar, as long as you don’t use them for activities that break the country’s laws.
Some Qatar residents already use VPNs to access country-specific TV and movie streaming services and local news websites.
They are now finding that popular VoIP services work when a VPN is used on their PCs, phones and tablets.
Some VPNs are free and others charge a fee. Here’s a list of some of the most popular ones.
Notably however, some Qatar users have complained lately about trouble with their VPN services, so you may have to try a few before one works.
Get Google Duo
Even though Whatsapp etc are not working, some VoIP apps appear to be holding up well at the moment.
The first is Google Duo, Google’s encrypted video chat app.
I download the app Betternet as VPN to use Skype/WhatsApp. And I use as backup tje app Google Duo that works fine without VPN
— Pia Veer (@PiaVeer) September 13, 2017
Available for both Apple and Android, Google says it’s “simple and reliable” and the “highest quality one-to-one video calling app on the market.”
…. Or IMO
VoIP app IMO is also available for Apple and Android, and so far, our readers say it’s working for them in Qatar.
Reviews on the Google Play store are a bit mixed, however – with some saying that connections can be a bit iffy.
Let us know if this encrypted service works for you.
The popular messaging app Telegram introduced voice calls earlier this year, and readers report that this service still seems to be working.
You can’t make live video calls with it, but you can send video messages instead.
Telegram promises to be “fast, simple and free” and the encrypted service also allows you to create massive group chats, should you wish.
Silence from authorities
People began complaining about the outages shortly before Eid.
So far, Qatar’s two telecom companies Ooredoo and Vodafone, as well as official government sources, have not shed any light on the problem.
This has been frustrating for the many Qatar residents who rely on VoIP as a cost-effective, instant and reassuring way to keep in touch with loved ones abroad.
How are these services working for you? Thoughts?