The Kuwaiti media recently announced that SKYPE would be blocked by the MOC. This is widely viewed as a mechanism to plug the millions that are being supposedly lost due to unauthorized VOIP call providers.

The population is made up of a large number of expatriates, who naturally have a need to communicate with their loved ones and others in their homeland. A bank guarantee of 500 KD or so is required from a subscriber who wishes to sign up for international calling facility. This is required mostly due to the huge arrears in unpaid bills and truant customers who use and just don’t pay. Local calls are free so that just doesn’t get affected.

One is often forced to think that this is just some ploy by the MOC-Cellular operator nexus to push international calling through prepaid and post paid cellular lines, which charge a premium but also have a better collection mechanism. But that’s just not feasible for the ordinary expat who hails from Asia.

The government has been tolerant so far, with the private use of VOIP…I guess all they are saying is you are not licensed so just don’t make money out of it.

The best thing to do would be to issue licenses for VOIP operators. They can have their own gateways and infrastructure, and offer international calls to the expatriate population at a fraction of the cost. This would reduce the cost to the customer and bring in legal revenues, pulling the rug from under the illegal operators. This could also probably explain the clean up that is in effect, once the shady operators are out, then you have official players who can offer services without leakages. There would be a mechanism where a customer could make a complaint in case the connection wasn’t good enough, and get their money back.