Moroccan Court Orders Maroc Telecom to Pay $630 Million Fine for Unfair Practices

Maroc Telecom, a leading telecommunications provider in Morocco, has been ordered by a court to pay a hefty fine of 6.3 billion dirhams ($630 million) for unfair competition. The court’s decision upholds a previous ruling from January in a case brought by rival telecom company Inwi last year.

The dispute dates back to 2016 when Inwi raised concerns with Morocco’s National Agency of Telecommunications Regulation (ANRT) about Maroc Telecom’s improper implementation of local loop unbundling. This process was intended to provide new telecom entrants with access to the infrastructure that connects customers to local telephone exchanges.

In 2017, the ANRT validated Inwi’s complaint, determining that Maroc Telecom had deliberately delayed competitors’ access to the necessary infrastructure, thereby hindering their ability to offer landline services. As a result of these anti-competitive practices, Maroc Telecom was fined 3.3 billion dirhams ($330 million) by the regulator in 2020.

Financial and Operational Impact

According to BMCI Capital Global Research, the court’s recent ruling could significantly impact Maroc Telecom’s profits and its service distribution strategies in 2024. While the company has reported a slight decline in annual revenue from its Moroccan operations, it has experienced a modest increase in international revenue.

Industry Reactions and Future Implications

The ruling underscores the importance of fair competition in the telecommunications sector and the regulatory oversight necessary to ensure a level playing field. It also highlights the potential financial repercussions for companies engaging in anti-competitive practices.

As Maroc Telecom faces this substantial fine, the broader implications for the telecom industry in Morocco could include increased scrutiny on market practices and a push towards more equitable access to infrastructure for all service providers. This case sets a precedent for regulatory enforcement and could lead to further reforms aimed at fostering competition and innovation within the sector.

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