February 3, 2020 / 9:55 AM / 2 months ago

Maroc Telecom fined $344 mln for anti-competitive practices

RABAT, Feb 3 (Reuters) - Maroc Telecom, Morocco’s leading operator, has been fined 3.3 billion dirhams ($344 million) for anti-competitive practices, the regulator said on Monday.

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.

The regulator’s statement confirmed reports on Sunday on two French-language Moroccan websites, Article19.ma and Medias24.com.

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 the first half of 2019.

ANRT had urged Maroc Telecom in 2016 to abide by regulations governing local loop unbundling.

Two years later, a rival operator filed suit against Maroc Telecom, accusing the market leader of breaching competition rules. Maroc Telecom has not commented on the lawsuit.

Maroc Telecom, which is listed on the Casablanca Stock Exchange and Euronext Paris, is 53% controlled by the UAE’s Etisalat, with the Moroccan state owning 22%.

It operates subsidiaries in Benin, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Gabon, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Togo and the Central African Republic. (Reporting by Ahmed Eljechtimi, editing by Louise Heavens)

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