Accessing Skype Abroad: How to Circumvent VoIP Blocks While Traveling

Last edited: April 30, 2020
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Access Skype Abroad: a short summary

In certain countries, VoIP services such as Skype are blocked. What is the best way to get around those restrictions during your holiday or stay abroad? The best way to circumvent VoIP restrictions is by using VPN software. A VPN allows you to redirect your Internet traffic via a VPN server in another country. This is how you do it:

  1. Subscribe to a good VPN and create an account.
  2. Download the VPN software onto your device.
  3. Log in to the VPN software.
  4. Choose a VPN server in a country where Skype isn’t blocked.
  5. You are now able to chat on Skype. In addition to Skype, you can also access other services that may be blocked by your country of residence, such as WhatsApp.

Do you want to start using a VPN for overcoming Skype restrictions? We recommend NordVPN. This VPN has a lot of options, offers fast and secure service and has a large number of servers worldwide.

For more information on why Skype is blocked, how a VPN works and tips on how to bypass Skype blocks, read our full article below.

Since its inception in 2003, Skype’s VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) telecommunications software has allowed its users to spend an estimated 2 trillion minutes reaching out to people they care about around the globe. With 300 million monthly users and over a billion downloads on Android, Skype has become so popular it has even entered our language. With “Skyping” taking its place in the Oxford English Dictionary alongside other tech-inspired terms such as “Googling,” “Whatsapping” and “Facetiming.”

In addition to becoming part of our lexicon, Skype has also become one of the most widely restricted VoIP services. In more than 20 countries Skype, along with other VoIP alternatives, is blocked or restricted. Thankfully, Skype being blocked in a country you live in, or are visiting, is not the end of the world. There is a way to overcome such blocks. In this article, we will look at which countries block Skype and similar services. Moreover, we will explore why they are blocked and how you can get around those restrictions. Afterwards, you will be able to get back to chatting with your friends and family.

Why is Skype Blocked in Certain Countries?

Skype Blocked Laptop

There are many reasons why Skype might be blocked or restricted in individual countries. However, in the vast majority of cases it comes down to one of three factors: protectionism, government surveillance or regulatory restrictions.

Protectionism

The majority of VoIP service blocks and restrictions are implemented as a form of protectionism by telecommunications companies. Skype’s ability to offer free, worldwide voice and video calling has a potentially negative impact on the revenue generated by a telecoms company’s own services. For this reason they block the use of Skype and similar platforms.

This is particularly true of South and Central America, where the same company often handles telephone and internet access. Skype is blocked by telecoms providers in Belize, Brazil and Venezuela in order to force users to communicate via telephone or use the telecoms company’s own VoIP service. The lack of telecoms competition in these countries only increases the problem. For example, in Belize, the government-owned Belize Telemedia Limited is the only telecoms provider. They block the use of Skype in order to protect their telephone revenue and to promote their own VoIP service.

Surveillance

In some countries, notably China and a number of Middle Eastern states, the government enforces restrictions on Skype and other VoIP services. They claim that the platform’s independence and its “no phone tracking” policy poses a security risk.

Skype was removed from all local app stores in China in December 2017. They join Gmail, Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, Line, and Pinterest on the list of non-state-owned software that have been censored by the Chinese Government. The Egyptian government has an official policy of blocking services they cannot monitor, including Skype.

In January 2018, Microsoft announced that Skype would be implementing a “Private Call” function that would offer end-to-end encryption. This announcement has led to speculation that individual countries would move to block Skype. In a similar manner as they had placed restrictions on WhatsApp and Telegram and Calling. Countries justify this by saying they would no longer be able to monitor Skype calls and caller locations.

Regulatory Restrictions

In certain countries, VoIP services such as Skype have to obtain a license to operate. An excellent example of this is the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which requires VoIP services to be licensed by their Telecommunication Regulatory Authority. Skype is currently unavailable in the UAE because they have been unable to obtain the correct license to operate.

How Do I Bypass VoIP Blocks?

If you find yourself living in, or travelling to, a country that routinely restricts or blocks VoIP services like Skype, don’t panic. There are ways to get around those restrictions.  VPN-connection-InternetVPN software is arguably the best way to circumvent VoIP restrictions, allowing you to connect to blocked services and websites without the severe bandwidth restrictions or latency issues associated with Tor or proxy websites.

A VPN allows you to connect to the internet through a proxy server, giving you a foreign IP address and bypassing restrictions on VoIP services. The main difference with regular proxy services is that a VPN also heavily encrypts your connection to prevent further surveillance. Because most VPN services offer a paid subscription they are able to provide far better speed and reliability than free VPN or proxy services.

In addition to higher speed, security and reliability, premium VPN services often offer quality customer support. Technical support staff is usually available to aid you in connecting to restricted services through the VPN software. This means you have the option of calling their technical support team if you are having trouble getting Skype to work.

Many VPN services also offer a “Dedicated IP” service, allowing you to have your own personalized IP as opposed to a shared one. The benefits of having a dedicated IP include being able to access video streaming services like Netflix, online banking accounts and online gaming websites, which routinely block shared IP addresses. If your dedicated IP is eventually discovered and blocked, your VPN service will quickly be able to offer you a new one.

Which VPNs Are Best For Accessing Skype?

If you want to start using a VPN to gain access to Skype, you need to make sure you pick the right VPN provider. Below you can find some of our recommendations.

NordVPN

NordVPN offers a fantastic package for a competitive price. Renowned for their fast and secure service, they have a large number of servers worldwide, offering you a range of options for routing your traffic.
Using Obfsproxy to avoid Deep Packet Inspection and operating a “no-logging” policy, NordVPN enables you to access all the content you want. You won’t have to worry about anyone monitoring you. If you aren’t entirely happy with their service, or you want to test it out before committing, NordVPN offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.

NordVPN
Deal:
Only $3,49 a month for a 2-year subscription
9.1
  • Excellent protection and a large network of servers
  • Nice and pleasing application
  • No logs
Visit NordVPN

GOOSE VPN

GOOSE VPN helps you to block geo-blocked content from around the world. YouTube, Netlix, WhatsApp, Skype, blocked news websites; everything can be accessed anywhere in the world when using GOOSE VPN. Goose is simple, fast and well priced. Renowned for their fast and secure service, they have a large number of servers worldwide, offering you a range of options for routing your traffic.

GOOSE VPN
Deal:
Save 30% with the promocode "Privacy"
7.4
  • Really quick connection
  • Easy to use on all devices
Visit GOOSE VPN

Countries Where Skype is Blocked or Restricted

We’ve done our best to compile information about countries where Skype is blocked. Please note this list is constantly changing. It is not guaranteed to be 100% accurate.

Blocked Entirely

  • Guyana
  • Venezuela
  • Kuwait
  • Libya
  • North Korea
  • Oman
  • Qatar
  • UAE

Service Restrictions

  • Belize – Skype is currently blocked by Belize Telemedia Limited, Belize’s only telecoms provider, who offer their own VoIP calling service.
  • Brazil – Brazil’s largest telecoms provider, Brazil Telecom, blocks Skype but allows VoIP calling through their own service.
  • Caribbean – LIME, the dominant telecoms provider in the Caribbean, blocks its customers from using Skype.
  • China – All VoIP services are blocked with the exception of those provided by China Unicom and China Telecom.
  • Cuba – Skype is available in Cuba, but calls cost $1.15 a minute, and extremely slow internet speeds restrict its usage.
  • Egypt – The Egyptian government regularly disrupts or blocks all VoIP services that cannot be directly monitored.
  • Iran – Skype seems to be available, but connectivity is so bad that the service is basically unusable.
  • India – Skype calling within India from Skype to mobiles and landlines is no longer available. However, free Skype to Skype calls within India are still working.
  • Jordan – All VoIP services are blocked for security reasons.
  • Myanmar – Skype, and other VoIP services are only available at certain times and in specific regions.
  • Pakistan – Skype calls, even computer to computer ones, are heavily monetized, costing $0.14 a minute.
  • Panama – Imposes a 12% tax on all VoIP calls.
  • Syria – Skype access is limited and is not available in internet cafes.
  • Vietnam – Skype access is limited. However a proxy service set up to facilitate Skype calls is available in some internet cafes.
  • Venezuela – Local ISPs block Skype and other VoIP services in specific areas but offer their own alternatives.

 

Final Thoughts

VPN software is the best solution for overcoming VoIP restrictions and access services like Skype, VPNs represent the best mix of speed, utility, reliability and security. So if you’re travelling to a country with a VoIP restriction, or you’re a local who just wants to be able to chat on Skype, subscribing to a VPN service will enable you to keep sharing your experiences without restriction. To help you pick the VPN services that are right for you, we’ve put together a list of the best VPN providers out there.

Accessing Skype Abroad: frequently Asked Questions

Do you have a question on how to circumvent Skype blocks while traveling?
Please have a look at our FAQs below and click on a question to see the answer!

The majority of VoIP service blocks and restrictions are implemented as a form of protectionism by telecommunications companies. Skype’s ability to offer free, worldwide voice and video calling has a potentially negative impact on the revenue generated by a telecoms company’s own services. For this reason they block the use of Skype and similar platforms.
Skype and other VoIP services are also blocked by some governments. They claim that the platform’s independence and its “no phone tracking” policy poses a security risk.

To get Skype working again, you can use a VPN connection. Once you are connected to a server in another country, you also gain the freedom of that country. You will receive a corresponding IP address and from that moment on you are digitally located in that other country. If you are connected to a server in a country where it is permitted to use Skype, you also have access to this service.

 

Countries where Skype traffic has recently been limited or is completely blocked:

Blocked Entirely

  • Guyana
  • Venezuela
  • Kuwait
  • Libya
  • North Korea
  • Oman
  • Qatar
  • UAE

Service Restrictions

  • Belize
  • Brazil
  • Caribbean
  • China
  • Cuba
  • Egypt
  • Iran
  • India
  • Jordan
  • Myanmar
  • Pakistan
  • Panama
  • Syria
  • Vietnam
  • Venezuela

 

Tech journalist
Tove has been working for VPNoverview since 2017 as a journalist covering cybersecurity and privacy developments. Since 2019 she is VPNoverview.com's cybersecurity news coordinator.

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