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Can telecoms legally block WhatsApp calls?

Published:Friday | May 1, 2015 | 12:00 AM


Recently, WhatsApp introduced its voice component, which allows WhatsApp subscribers to call each other free. To my dismay, my friends calling from overseas have not been able to use this app with me unless I am on a Wi-Fi connection.

It seems like Digicel has somehow blocked these calls from happening using its data plan. If this is true, is it legal?

Can Digicel or LIME or any other provider block WhatsApp calls?

This is very interesting, as my friends in Canada and the United States are able to call each other with WhatsApp without a Wi-Fi connection. This is not amusing, as having this option will save me a lot of money, especially for those people who I know do not have Skype. I would also be able to call persons in Jamaica free without worrying about buying credit.

If there is anyone else out there facing this problem, we need to petition the powers that be to have this practice stopped immediately. We saw recently where cable companies were infringing on the rights of overseas channels. Could this be a case where the telecom giants are trying to block WhatsApp to protect their bottom line?

Let us make sure that the telecom companies are doing the right thing here. Money is not easy to come by these days. Every bit of savings matters.


Mona Heights, Kingston 6