What’s new in Voice Over IP

At SpectrumVoIP, we like to stay informed about the latest developments and share our insights with our clients and partners. Here’s a brief summary of the top Voice over IP headlines over the past two months.

UAE Regulator Confirms No Change to VoIP Policy

The United Arab Emirates’ telecoms regulator has claimed that there has been no change to its Voice over IP policy, despite complaints by users that the Skype service had recently been disrupted. Saudi Arabia and the UAE have traditionally been wary of VoIP applications, allegedly due to security concerns. Call features have been blocked on Whatsapp, Facebook and Discord, however Skype supposedly remains operational. An Etisalat spokesperson said, “Unauthorized applications or services that are providing VoIP calling services are not supported in the UAE”. A petition by UAE residents urging the regulator to relax its policies has attracted over 1,000 signatures.

Polycom Acquires VoIP Hardware Company, Obihai Technology

Polycom has kicked off the new year by purchasing San Jose-based Obihai Technology, a manufacturer of VoIP phones and hardware. Founded in 2010, Obihai Technology has raised $1.5 million in venture funding, and builds products such as the Obi200, 202 and 212 voice adapters, which enable users to access VoIP services using Google Voice. Polycom intends to add cloud-based capabilities to Obihai’s portfolio. “The strategic acquisition of the Obihai team and its software platform allows Polycom to surge forward on our strategy to deliver the best and most human-to-human experience in our audio and video solutions,” said Mary McDowell, Polycom CEO.

UK Achieves 95% Broadband Coverage

The British Government has announced that 95% of premises across the nation now have access to high-speed broadband, delivering on its promise to reach this target by the end of 2017. A report by www.thinkbroadband.com confirms that 19 out of 20 homes and businesses now have the ability to upgrade their Internet connection to 24 Mbps or faster. “Over the last 5 years, the Government’s rollout of superfast broadband has made superfast speeds a reality for more than 4.5 million homes and businesses who would otherwise have missed out,” said DCMS Secretary of State, Matt Hancock.

Thailand Regulators Crack Down on VoIP Scams

Thailand’s government has given the country’s telecoms operators two months to devise a method to counteract the rising problem of Voice over IP caller ID spoofing. The regulator, NBTC, working alongside the Royal Thai Police and the Anti-Money Laundering Office, has also advised operators to block numbers used by known contact center scammers. Cyber-criminals have been using VoIP services to display false numbers that appear to belong to post offices, police stations and other official premises. The scammers pose as members of these official organizations in order to defraud members of the public and terrorize victims into revealing personal information or handing over money.

Australian Regulator Takes Aim at VoIP and Anonymous Services

ASIC, the Australian Securities and Investment Commission, has requested greater powers to tackle an increase in financial cybercrime. The regulator took aim at cryptocurrencies and ‘dark web’ marketplaces, as well as Voice over IP and messaging services like WhatsApp, Skype and Facebook. ASIC advised a parliamentary committee these technologies were undermining its surveillance efforts by obscuring the identity of hackers and cybercriminals. ASIC is troubled by the rising prevalence of encryption and anonymizing services running on telecommunications and chat platforms. “Traditional sources of telecommunications information accessible to ASIC, such as call charge records, are becoming less and less useful,” said an ASIC spokesperson.

Trump Considers Plan to Nationalize the US 5G Wireless Network

United States’ security officials are reportedly planning to nationalize the country’s next-gen 5G wireless network in an attempt to thwart cyber security threats from China. The Trump administration allegedly believes that the private sector is poorly equipped to develop a 5G network due to tight regulations and lack of competition between telecoms companies, as well as an absence of US-based manufacturers. On the other hand, China is moving rapidly to develop and deploy 5G, giving the nation a technological advantage. A memo put together by the US National Security Council proposes that the government should fund and build the network, and then lease it to operators like Verizon and AT&T.

 

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