Morocco’s National Telecommunications Regulatory Agency has fined Maroc Telecom MAD 3.3 billion (EUR 311 million) for anti-competitive practices.
This allows competition within local telephone networks by giving them access to the local loop, which belongs to the historical operator. It is this access that allows competition to roll out a fixed telephony and ADSL offer.
However, the ANRT has concluded that since 2013, IAM has engaged in practices “constituting an abuse of a dominant position” that “have had the effect of blocking access to unbundling on its network and the fixed market”.
Majority owned by the Emirate Etisalat, the Moroccan telecommunications leader has thus retained a monopoly in this segment.
The penalty, set at “three billion three hundred million dirhams”, will have to be paid “entirely to the Public Treasury”. It represents about 10% of the group's turnover in 2018, about MAD 36 billion (EUR 3.4 billion).
Maroc Telecom “takes note of the ANRT's decision” and “reserves the right to exercise the remedies provided for by law”, it stated in a press release.
The investigation has been underway since May 2017 after a referral from the Moroccan operator Wana, a subsidiary of the royal holding company Al Mada (formerly SNI). A year earlier, the ANRT had issued a warning to the incumbent operator, which was not followed up.
Wana also filed a complaint in March 2018 before the Rabat commercial court against IAM for “unfair competition”, claiming more than MAD 5 billion (500 million euros) in damages, according to the specialized press.
The lawsuit is ongoing.
Maroc Telecom was founded in 1998 by the Moroccan government before being partially privatized. The group is now present in around ten countries on the continent.