People love using Skype to video chat with their family and friends, but in some countries, Skype and other video calling software can be limited or completely blocked. Why would those countries want to block these services and is there an alternative?
Why they block Skype
It can be frustrating if you can’t use the same software or apps you normally use in your home country. However, different countries have different policies that can influence the use of Skype or other video calling services.
Shutting down competition
Many blocks are profit-driven. Most countries in Central and South America block all VoIP (Voice over IP) and Skype because they have single providers that offer both internet and telephone services. Because Skype offers free video calls over the internet, some telcos lobby to have it blocked or block it themselves because they fear losing revenue.
Some countries oppose service independence and want to track their citizens. In Egypt, for example, Skype is blocked because of the unofficial government policy that anything that can’t be monitored by the government will be blocked. Apps with encrypted communications that the government can’t backdoor – like Skype – are frequently blocked for this reason.
Where are Skype and VoIP services blocked?
Central and South America:
Belize – Skype is blocked by Belize Telecommunications Ltd, which allows VoIP calling through their own services.
Brazil – Brazil Telecom blocks Skype but allows VoIP calling through their own services.
Caribbean – Countries that use Cable & Wireless (the largest telecommunications provider) are blocked from using Skype.
Cuba – With poor internet infrastructure, access to computers is limited. Skype service is extremely expensive and the internet is also slow.
Guyana – Blocked nationwide.
Mexico – Some ISPs block VoIP services.
Venezuela – A few Internet Service Providers (ISPs) have been reported to block Skype as they offer their own VoIP service.
China – Blocks all VoIP services except China Unicom and China Telecom (suspected of monitoring network traffic).
Myanmar – Available under certain restrictions (specific region, time and cost are determining factors).
North Korea – Blocked nationwide.
Pakistan – Skype calls are monetized and expensive.
Russia – The main telecommunications company is petitioning the government to block all VoIP services.
Vietnam – Limited access. Many internet cafes have proxy servers to facilitate Skype calls.
Iran – There are mixed reports about Skype use. It seems that connectivity is often interrupted, making the service unusable.
Jordan – Blocks Skype and VoIP for security reasons.
Kuwait – Blocked nationwide.
Oman – Blocked nationwide.
Qatar – Blocked nationwide.
Syria – Blocked nationwide.
UAE – Blocked nationwide.
Tunisia – Similarly to Egypt, service availability varies.
Egypt – Known to be blocked during times of political unrest.
Libya – Blocked nationwide.
There is ongoing debate about Skype encryption and the possibility of wiretapping it. Skype is currently available throughout the EU.
Note: This list is constantly changing as some countries might have specific temporary blockages that are difficult to track.
How can I access Skype in these regions?
The most common and easiest way to bypass blocks and access Skype is to use a VPN. It will tunnel your requests through a secure pathway, encrypting it and bypassing most government and ISP surveillance. With a fast VPN, No matter where you are, find the most suitable server by checking the full list of server locations. VPN download