Local telecoms operators instead sought to recoup lost revenue by selling higher-quality internet services, particularly to businesses.
Analysts have suggested that restrictions have been motivated by security concerns centred on the issue of encrypted data not being accessible to the authorities, and commercial considerations, in terms of protecting local providers of paid-for services.
Professor Keith Martin, a professor of information security at Royal Holloway University of London, said it was unlikely that the ban in the UAE was motivated solely by commercial factors.
Instead, he suggested providers may agree to give authorities access to data when required.
“It's more likely they have come to an arrangement with local providers that they cannot come to with external providers. That would certainly be very possible,” he said.