Maroc Telecom, Morocco’s largest telecommunications operator, has been fined US$344 million by the National Agency of Telecommunications Regulation (ANRT) for anti-competitive practices. The decision, handed down on Monday, February 3, resolved a dispute between Maroc Telecom and its rivals over access to the local loop unbundling, fixed broadband, and joint usage of high-frequency internet.
In 2014, the ANRT passed new guidelines regarding local loop unbundling that required Maroc Telecom to host competitors’ equipment in its existing cabinets and to build multi-operator cabinets in future expansions. Wholesale tariffs for other operators under a virtual unbridled local access model were also required. Two years later, rival company Inwi claimed Maroc Telecom had been deliberately restraining competitor access to local loop unbundling since 2013. An investigation by ANRT found that Maroc Telecom had used its dominant position in the market to do just that.
In addition to the fine levied against it, the ANRT’s decision against Maroc Telecom will force it to implement the 2014 regulations as well. Morocco owns a 22 percent stake in the company, with 53 percent held by United Arab Emirates state company Etisalat. Maroc Telecom subsidiaries also operate in Benin, Togo, Burkina Faso, Gabon, Ivory Coast, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, and the Central African Republic.