People love using Skype to talk video with their family and friends, but Skype and other video calling apps may be restricted or blocked in some countries. Why would those countries want these services to be blocked and there is an alternative?
Why they block Skype If you can not use the same software or apps that you normally use in your home country, it can be frustrating. Different countries, however, have different policies that can affect Skype or other video calling services.
Competition shutdown Many blocks are profit-driven. Most Central and South American countries are banning both VoIP (Voice over IP) and Skype because they have sole providers providing internet and telephone services. Because Skype offers free internet video calls, some telcos lobby will block it or block it on their own because they’re afraid of losing revenue.
Many countries are opposed to service autonomy and want their people to be monitored. In Egypt, for example, because of the unofficial government policy, Skype is blocked from blocking anything that the government can not monitor. For this reason, applications with encrypted communications that the government is unable to backdoor–such as Skype–are often blocked.
Where are the applications blocked by Skype and VoIP?
Central and South America: Belize–Belize Telecommunications Ltd blocks Skype, which enables VoIP to call through its own services.
Brazil–Brazil Telecom blocks Skype but, through its own services, allows VoIP to call.
Caribbean–Countries using Skype are blocked from using Cable & Wireless (the largest telecommunications provider).
Cuba–Connection to computers is restricted due to poor internet infrastructure. Skype is extremely expensive and the internet is sluggish as well.
Mexico –Some VoIP services are blocked by ISPs.
Venezuela –A few ISPs have been reported to block Skype as they offer their own VoIP service.
Asia: China–Blocks all VoIP services other than China Unicom and China Telecom (suspected network traffic monitoring).
Myanmar–Available under certain constraints (determining factors are local area, time and cost).
North Korea–Nationally closed.
Pakistan–Calls from Skype are monetized and costly.
Russia–The main telecom company is calling on the government to block all VoIP services.
Vietnam–Limited access. Many internet cafes have proxy servers to facilitate Skype calls.
Middle East: Iran–There are mixed reports about Skype use. Connectivity appears to be regularly interrupted, rendering the service unusable.
Jordan–For security reasons, blocks Skype and VoIP.
Oman–Blocked across the country.
Qatar –Nationally blocked.
Syria –Nationally blocked.
Africa: Tunisia–Similarly to Egypt, service availability varies.
Egypt–Known to be blocked during times of political unrest.
European Union: There is ongoing debate about Skype encryption and the possibility of wiretapping it. Skype is available in the EU at the moment.
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.