Will BBM Video and BBM Voice get unlocked in the UAE?

By James Richardson on 9 Apr 2013 03:19 pm EDT

The BlackBerry Z10 has been available in the UAE for some time now but it wasn't until very recently that I discovered that BlackBerry 10 users there are missing a couple of the new OS's best features. BBM Video and BBM Voice are currently blocked in the region so those folk who have picked up a Z10 don't get the full BlackBerry 10 experience that the rest of us have been accustomed to.

Thanks to the good old CrackBerry Forums it seems that things may well change in the near future in the UAE. As you will see from the below image - forum member Zahi Ali tweeted Etisalat (a local carrier) asking the question of when the missing features will be available. From the response it certainly seems that the carrier wants the new BBM features to be implemented so fingers crossed this will happen in the near future.


Are you a BlackBerry 10 user in the UAE? Sound off in the comments if the missing features are driving you mad? Or could this be a deal breaker when it comes to deciding on which new smartphone to upgrade to?


Reader comments

Will BBM Video and BBM Voice get unlocked in the UAE?


I live in UAE and thru my carrier which is called Du I am able bbm voice chat but only when I am on wifi.

Posted via CB10

BBM Video and Voice chat can be used on either Wifi or Carrier Network on the Z10.

I've used BBM Video with LTE service several times now.

Hey sorry I should have been clearer, I have a STL1003 model for my Z10 and I'm from Canada so LTE is widespread here. My cousin in Dubai has the H+ version of the Z10 so he doesn't get LTE. Doesn't matter though cuz he can't do BBM video either way because of Du and Etisalat restrictions.

He recently took his Z10 to india and guess what, the BBM video worked I believe with a different SIM card in.

When I can use bbm vedio and voice call in dubai... please tell me when will Skype release for bb10

Posted via CB10

Well it's banned because the telecom regulatory authority which controls both Etisalat and du have blocked these features as they do not allow voip. I know this feature is not exactly voip but in uae face time is also blocked. However workarounds are always available but it's just too bad that it's been restricted in such a way. Hopefully like the tweet we ll see it getting unblocked soon, however I have heard news like this in the newspapers here so many times so I ll believe it when it happens. Keeping my fingers and my toes crossed. ;-)

Posted via CB10

I believe with the official step of unblocking Skype on Etisalat, that would be a kick off to unblocking the popular VoIP services.

It will take them a couple of months.. Maybe along the official release of the Q10? It won't go beyond June (just a wild guess from a UAE resident).


I live here and I bought the Z10 in the 1st week of launch. Its too bad that BBM video/voice is still not available.

This however that hasn't stopped people from buying the phone (even if it is on the hope that it will soon be enabled). Yes UAE is a strong market for Blackberry. Besides BBM voice used to work on BB7 using some work around in Wifi settings, still havent seen that for BB10. Also BBM voice/video should work over data and not just wifi as that is what we are hoping for.

The problem here is more fundamental, Voip is a NONO here. Even Skype was just recently unblocked (less then a week ago), and then they said its still not okay to use it. BLAH. google bbm voice in Dubai. WSJ posted a similar news a while back.

The tweet that you have shown is the same one that Etisalat have been tweeting since day one so nothing new there. This is their standard answer. I have had the pleasure of using BBM Video and Voice on my device but when I've been out of the country and it is a fantastic feature.

I'm also on DU and cannot get BBM Voice to work so someone please enlighten me how you get this to work.

I wish Etisalat have now come to there senses with the unblocking of Skype and allow BBM to be fully functional. This is the killer feature and would propel BlackBerry even further in the region

Praying for sanity

Posted via CB10

Its sad that they blocked such features considering they charged ridiculously expensive for data packages here in UAE. Comparing it to the Philippines, uae charged 5x for their mobile data packages. :(

Posted via CB10

I doubt it. They have been saying this since before the release, nothing new here.
Voip is blocked in the UAE so that the carriers can charge whatever price they want for international calls with no competition. As others have stated, skype just recently got unblocked... Hoping that the ball keeps rolling and all Voip solutions get unblocked as well

Posted via CB10

I my love the BlackBerry. I see the many peple with the buy the phone. It shuld everyone get Z10 and they be so much happy. It best phone in my country.

That's strange.... im in Qatar, about 30 min from dubai and all. Everyone's bbm voice chat is working perfectly fine here with qtel/ooredoo, but as for bbm video calling.. i don't have anyone on my bbm with a Z10 so I don't know if it works or not.

Posted via CB10

I think it is blocked in uae because the authorities want to monitor conversations and messages. Does BlackBerry not have to allow government access to data if the government requests it there?

Posted via CB10

I'm living in UAE and This features are useless, in other words this device is actually pile of shit if we have no access to those awesome features I'm really frustrated due to this blockage.

Posted via CB10

I live here in UAE and using Z10 from day one it was released. Unfortunately, bbm voice/video does not work. Before the first OS update I was able to use it with my friends who owns Z10 over cellular network and or wifi. But after the first OS update the green icon to tap has long been gone.

I have installed a vpn that works with Z10 (witopia.net) and my friends z10's as well hoping that it would somehow do the trick. Unfortunately bbm voice/video icon still won't show on a BlackBerry contact.

These features needs to be available and BlackBerry should constantly negotiate with Etisalat and du or with UAE TRA. There has not been any news after I first read about BlackBerry being in talks with them since 31Jan2013 and 15Feb2013.



BlackBerry should at least tell us (UAE BlackBerry Users) on what's the development with the talks with UAE TRA or Etisalat and du. We deserve to hear from BlackBerry being a BlackBerry Z10 owners.

I wish the best for BlackBerry. Me and my friends are rocking Z10 and we would love to finally see these features working soon on our phones here in UAE.

Posted via CB10

This is a standard out of the box response, meaning we have no idea, but need to respond with something, you can ask them multiple questions about LTE for instance, and you will get the exact response.

Both features don't work, even on WIFI after recent OS update. Sad really that one of the most loyal markets to BlackBerry don't get the full features.

I'm more annoyed with the lack of LTE support, every smartphone from iphone, Samsung, HTC and Nokia have LTE support. We're promised now with the release of Q10, but what if you don't want to make the move to qwerty.

Posted via CB10

Reading the comments above relating to Skype unblocking, I believe this is directly linked Microsoft, on their Windows 8 release, and the Skype integration within the new OS, which is also replacing messenger, and the fact that users where having issues even downloading the new OS, Microsoft at one stage was even serving the upgrade via FTP.

Posted via CB10

Carriers here want to charge as much as possible so VOIP is a no go, and the Telecom Regulatory Authority fears BBM messaging due to security, let alone video/voice.

The Carriers + TRA are both against it, don't believe any of the lies they post on twitter... they just don't want negative sentiment being built up...

I worked for Etisalat customer support for 4 years, and let me tell you the only way it'll happen if they're able to charge you for it over 3G and wifi as well older bb OS used service books so it was easy to disable some features (BB Protect was disabled for example) but usually when they use the word testing, customer safety, TRA approval, it means forget about about it :)

Sounds like it won't come to the UAE despite all the surrounding GCC countries enjoying the service. It's a real shame that BlackBerry have not focused on this given the importance of the UAE's regional position

I was so looking forward to using screen sharing more than anything

Posted via CB10

It seems the update is done to disable this service. So, may advice to you is to install the leaked
Leaked: OS v10.0.10.648 For BlackBerry Z10 London STL100-1/Dev Alpha. Then when you see the update info later on just refuse it, and tell your friends to do so, since before your update you were able to use Video and Audio in BBM. It should work. I have not tried it. Do it on your own risk.

Try faceflow instead, for videocall from z10 to z10. It works. Tested it already. Im using du and i called a friend who's using etisalat.

Posted via CB10

Looks like Skype IS STILL banned in UAE!! Couldn't paste the links here, but a simple search will show that Skype is still banned (as of April 9th / 10th, 2013). There were some rumours earlier than April 9th, but we are still in the dark ages in the UAE. I also don't believe anything when Du or Etisalat says that they are working to getting BB Video/Voice. Unless there is a workaround, I dont' believe they will officially ever release this in the UAE.

From what I've seen/read, the only way to get BB V/V (through wifi) is:
1. You bought your device from a non-UAE seller.
2. You are able to go back to your original BB10 version that it came with originally, and
3. You have access to use your device through a VPN.

I'm not sure about the other 3rd Party apps that lets you do Video/Voice calls over wifi (FaceFlow, Whatspp, etc), but thats worth looking into.

So am new in Dubai and yet to find my bearings. Can anyone suggest any place where i can get a good deal on the blackberry Q10???