Washington D.C. Morocco’s three telecom providers are moving forward to impose further restrictions on the use of WhatsApp, Skype, and Viber.
Last week, Moroccan telecom providers Maroc Telecom, Meditel, and Inwi placed restrictions on the use of several applications that offer free VoIP services such as WhatsApp, Skype, and Viber. So far, the restrictions on such applications has only been partial. Internet users have not been able to make VoIP calls using 3G and 4G internet yet are still able to leverage the free services through a Wi-Fi connection.
However, according to an anonymous source from Meditel, which has been quoted by Telquel, the restrictions will soon be covering calls made through Wi-Fi connections as well. These last few adjustments will be made by Maroc Telecom, since it currently dominates the ADSL platform in Morocco.
Several days after these restrictions were imposed on Moroccan customers, the National Telecommunications Regulatory Agency (ANRT) stated that applications that offer free VoIP services “are not in compliance with current regulations and represent a large loss for the national telecom providers.”
Moroccan internet users have been opposing the decision, labelling it as “unethical” and denouncing the “corporate greed” of Moroccan telecom providers.
On Tuesday, Moroccan technology blogger Amine Raghib posted a video on YouTube and called on all Moroccans to turn off their phones on 16-17 January in protest of the recent restrictions.
In the video, which was viewed by over 100,000 people, Amine denounces the telecom providers’ “attack on free speech” and label them as “capitalist companies that are poorly managed and not competitive.”