Notified by the regulator of a penalty of 2.45 billion dirhams (just over 233 million euros), Maroc Telecom (IAM) had one month to appeal. It’s done. According to a source close to the National Telecommunications Regulatory Agency (ANRT), which confirms information from the Moroccan site Le360, the incumbent operator is now contesting the decision.
Contacted by Young Africa, the company did not wish to react immediately. When announcing its results for premier semester, the operator headed by Abdeslam Ahizoune had reported the provision of “a penalty payment applied by the Moroccan regulator”, indicating that it had “a period of 30 days to appeal to the Rabat Court of Appeal” .
Maroc Telecom: faced with intensifying competition, the incumbent operator is marking time
Delay in infrastructure sharing
The penalty imposed on the incumbent operator follows a fine of 300 million euros which it was fined in 2020 for abuse of a dominant position. In dispute with its competitors, in particular Inwi (particularly belonging to the royal holding company Al Mada), which took the case to court, Maroc Telecom has been accused for several years of anti-competitive practices.
“After an in-depth examination of the various elements of the case, the ANRT concluded that, since 2013, there has been cumulative behavior attributed to IAM, which has had the effect of preventing and delaying competitors’ access to unbundling and fixed market”, explained the ANRT in a press release in January 2020.
Maroc Telecom gives ground to its challengers Inwi and Orange
If the operator, the largest market capitalization in the country, had hastened to pay the fine of 300 million in 2020, it would not have applied the injunctions of the regulator aimed in particular at pushing it to share its infrastructures with its competitors. Already in 2019, the Court of Auditors had singled out the company, pointing the finger in particular at delays in “the implementation of certain regulatory levers, such as unbundling, co-location and infrastructure sharing”.
Decline in turnover
The record penalty paid by IAM did not fail to weigh down its results for the first half, which was already not very rosy with a turnover down 2.2%. “Mobile activities in Morocco continue to suffer from the competitive and regulatory context and are partly offset by the good performance of international and fixed activities in Morocco”, justified the group listed in Casablanca and at Paris.