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Calling the Middle East (Everything You Need to Know)

Making outbound calls to the Middle East.

If you do business with the Middle East often, you’ll have noticed that certain communication services (like VoIP) and apps (like WhatsApp, Skype, etc) are restricted across GCC regions.

This presents obstacles for businesses looking to expand their operations in this region in an affordable and scalable way. After all, without legal and reliable phone services, how do you communicate with local customers?

As a provider of international phone numbers, we have extensive experience dealing with these restrictions and have solutions to offer interested customers.

Calling Restrictions in the Middle East: Quick Overview

The Middle East presents a unique landscape for telecommunications, particularly regarding the use and regulation of VoIP services and apps using VoIP. These restrictions are in place for a variety of reasons:

  • improve national security and cyber security
  • direct investments and revenue toward local telecom operators
  • an increasing amount of fraudulent activities from people outside the Gulf countries targeting this region, and
  • strict regulatory requirements.

This means that international VoIP services or features often face stringent regulations across many Middle Eastern countries.

What are the consequences of these restrictions?

  • Businesses are at the mercy of expensive local operators for reliable calling.
  • Users may not be able to use VPNs to bypass restrictions since many GCC countries have strict laws against it.
  • Cheaper local alternatives may suffer from poor connection and call quality issues.

Businesses can experience caller ID restrictions when calling countries like the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, etc.

For example, UAE telecom authorities block incoming calls from outside the country using a UAE local number format. This restriction comes from the UAE telecom authorities and affects the whole industry.

International Calling Options for the Middle East

Using local phone numbers and in-country caller IDs is the best way to improve call pickup rates. Prospects and customers are likelier to answer calls with familiar in-country prefixes and local area codes.

With that said, what are some options available to businesses trying to make calls into this region without physically expanding their operations there?

Here are some solutions for calling the Middle East:

1) In our experience, using a Bahrain phone number is the best option. Bahrain phone numbers don’t have any known restrictions and are, therefore, easier to obtain. Bahrain is a GCC country with favorable relations throughout the region.

Since you can display your Bahrain phone number as your outbound caller ID, GCC locals will recognize this as a call from within the region. People in the Middle East tend to be very receptive to incoming calls from a Bahraini caller ID.

A Bahrain caller ID is the best way to make calls to other GCC countries while boosting call connection and pickup rates.

2) The other option is to use another neighboring country or close trading partner. To make calls within the region, use another local phone number in the Middle East. For example, use UAE caller ID to call Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Oman, or use a Saudi caller ID to call the UAE, Qatar, Jordan, etc.

Locals tend to be more receptive to answering calls that show a caller ID from a neighboring country than those that show a caller ID from India, Singapore, the USA, South Africa, etc.

3) The final option is to modify the outbound caller ID slightly. For example, use and display a +1971 UAE phone number instead of +971 for calls within the UAE.

This option can work, as the caller ID appears slightly similar to a local phone number, but it is less preferred because if somebody misses your call, they will not be able to dial you back.

How Can Global Call Forwarding Help?

As a reliable, long-standing provider of Middle East phone services, we can help businesses set up cloud calling options for this region. We’ve been helping global businesses connect and reliably communicate with customers in this region since 1996.

We support many small and medium-sized businesses and large enterprises throughout the region and help businesses outside the Middle East do business there. Additionally, we have exhibited at GITEX several times and have close ties to local businesses in the Middle East.

Consult our telecom experts for more information about phone solutions to support your business expansion and outbound calls to the Middle East. Call us today or chat with us online! We’re here to help.

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