Morocco’s National Agency of Telecommunications Regulation (ANRT) has issued its decision in the dispute between telecom operators over access to the local loop unbundling (LLU) and the joint use of high-frequency internet and fixed broadband.
The ANRT said that Maroc Telecom has abused its dominant position in the market by hindering competitors' access to unbundling on its network and the fixed market since 2013.
Maroc Telecom, Morocco's leading operator, has been fined 3.3 billion dirhams ($344 million) for anti-competitive practices, the country’s regulator said on Monday.
The company may face further daily sanctions if it does not comply with the decision, the regulator said, adding that such measures aim to boost competition in fixed broadband.
Maroc Telecom said it would appeal the decision. The fine, to be paid to the state treasury, compares with the $312 million profit reported by Maroc Telecom in H1 2019.
ANRT had urged Maroc Telecom in 2016 to abide by regulations governing local loop unbundling.
Two years later, a rival operator filed a suit against Maroc Telecom, accusing it of breaching competition rules.
Zain subsidiary Inwi (formerly Wana) claimed that Maroc Telecom had hindered its rivals’ access to LLU and fixed broadband since 2013, and following its investigation the ANRT concluded that Maroc Telecom had abused its dominance in the market to this effect.
In 2014, the ANRT issued its guidelines for LLU which obliged Maroc Telecom to host rivals’ equipment in its existing cabinets, as well as build out multi-operator cabinets in future deployments. It was also required to provide wholesale tariffs for other operators using a virtual unbundled local access (VULA) model.
Maroc Telecom will now have to introduce these measures, in addition to paying a fine to the Treasury.
Maroc Telecom, which is listed on the Casablanca Stock Exchange and Euronext Paris, is 53 percent controlled by the UAE’s Etisalat, with the Moroccan state owning 22 percent.
It operates subsidiaries in Benin, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Gabon, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Togo, and the Central African Republic.
Copyright © Saudi Research and Publishing Co. All rights reserved.