By Jonathan Walsh
By Jonathan Walsh
Rabat – Morocco telecom providers blocked on Friday calls made through VoIP services with WiFi connection.
VoIP, or Voice over Internet Protocol services, refer to calls made through popular mobile applications such as Whatsapp, Viber, and Skype, as opposed to being made through mobile service providers.
The move to block VoIP calls made through WiFi connections has long been anticipated, since calls made via 3G and 4G were blocked by all three telecom providers last January.
Following the telecom companies’ decision, the Constitutional Union, an opposition party, criticized the move, labeling it as “an obstacle to freedom of communication,” saying it will be “a severe blow to many start-ups, companies, and technological creation units, at a time when entrepreneurship, including in new technologies, is a potential pathway for the creation of thousands of jobs and added value.”
Many Moroccans also expressed their dismay at the decision. A campaign was launched last month on Facebook, calling on Moroccans to boycott the three telecom providers on January 16 and 17.
“Through this campaign, we want to show to those companies that we are not sheep, but consumers who should be respected,” the organizers of the campaign said. “The Internet is a free space that nobody has the right to control.”
Moroccan Telecom providers claim the decision was made because of the negative impact free calls have on the Moroccan telecommunications industry. The ban is supported by Morocco’s National Agency for Telecommunications Networks, which points out that the move is “in accordance with the law.”
“The regulations governing the provision of telephone services (VoIP or other) are clear and those services can be provided only by holders of telecommunications licenses operators,” they said in a statement.
Earlier this month, it was thought that restrictions to VoIP calls made through 3G, 4G, and WiFi connections were lifted. For over a week, Moroccan users notices that the services had been restored, which allowed them to communicate with their loved ones inside and outside of Morocco.