If you’re a long way from home, this is huge.

It’s one of those things you have to explain to your friends and family back home when you move to the UAE—no, Skype and FaceTime don’t work, and yes, it’s fine, I’ll just call you.

Those conversations might be coming to an end, though. Gulf Business reports that the UAE’s telecommunications regulator is in talks with both Microsoft and Apple regarding bringing their services to the emirates.

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The site says Arabic newspaper Al Ittihad cited Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) director general Hamad Obaid Al Mansouri confirmed meetings were being held on Sunday.

Both companies are expanding in the UAE, with Microsoft building data centres in Dubai and Abu Dhabi and Apple opening more stores.

Al Mansouri said the talks were in light of these moves, Gulf Business reports.

Users of Etisalat’s alternatives, BOTIM and C’Me, were on the rise, Al Mansouri told the site.

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Voice over internet protocols like Skype are illegal in the UAE, but have worked off and on for years. In June last year, we reported that WhatsApp calls were working locally and internationally, but that didn’t last.

At the time, the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority confirmed that VoIP services were still illegal.

“There is no change in the UAE’s Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) Policy,” the authority said.

“TRA reconfirms that any applications or services of this type must comply with the applicable regulatory framework in the country.”

We’ll keep you updated as more news emerges…

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Images: Getty