Maroc Telecom ordered to pay rival Inwi $636m for anticompetitive practices


A Moroccan commercial court has ruled that Maroc Telecom unfairly used its dominant market position to restrict its rivals in the landline market

This week, a Moroccan court has ordered incumbent operator Maroc Telecom to pay its rival, Inwi (Wana Corporate), 6.36 billion dirhams ($636 million) following a successful legal challenge from its smaller rival.

The ruling relates to a case Inwi brought back in 2021, arguing that Maroc Telecom had unfairly restricted the company’s access to landline customers as far back as 2013.

Inwi had initially issued a complaint to the Moroccan regulator, the National Telecommunications Regulatory Agency (ANRT), in 2016, saying that Maroc Telecom had failed to fairly implement local loop unbundling, the process of allowing new telecoms operators access to the infrastructure connecting customers to their local telephone exchanges.

In 2017, the ANRT upheld the complaint, having found that Maroc Telecom had indeed prevented and delayed their competitors from gaining access to their infrastructure, thereby blocking and delaying them from offering landline services to customers.

After three years of legal back-and-forth, in 2020 the ANRT fined Maroc Telecom 3.3 billion dirhams ($330 million) for uncompetitive practises.

At the time, it was hoped that this fine would put an end to the long running saga, but while Inwi did briefly withdraw its complaint, the third-place operator ultimately sought compensation via the courts in 2021.

This new penalty, if it is upheld after the inevitable appeals, could have a devastating effect on Maroc Telecom, with the total notably exceeding the company’s annual profit of 5.82 billion dirhams ($580 million) in 2022.

“The ruling is anticipated to have a profound impact on Maroc Telecom’s profit margins and distribution strategy for the year 2024 unless the company has made provisions, either in the fourth quarter of 2023 or post-closure,” noted BMCI Capital Global Research, a market research company.

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