WANA, known under the brand name Inwi, has decided to give up a compensation claim for MAD 5.7 billion (€536 million), following the intervention of its royally-owned chief stakeholder.
Rabat – The Moroccan telecommunication company WANA, known under its brand name Inwi, withdrew its legal complaint against its competitor Maroc Telecom (IAM) on Thursday, February 20, according to a press release from Inwi.
WANA had sought compensation of MAD 5.7 billion from IAM at Rabat’s commercial court for Maroc Telecom’s “anti-competitive practices.” The court was set to announce its decision on Monday, February 24.
WANA’s board met on Thursday at the request of its majority shareholder, the royally-owned investment company “Al Mada,” says the statement.
The National Agency for Telecommunications Regulation (ANRT) had condemned Maroc Telecom for anti-competitive practices, a decision the WANA board took into consideration.
On February 3, the ANRT imposed a fine of MAD 3.3 billion (around €312 million) on IAM for “unfair competition.” IAM has to pay the total amount of the financial penalty to Morocco’s General Treasury.
The board “has no doubt that the measures and injunctions taken within [ANRT’s] framework will restore healthy competition in the telecommunications market, in the interests of consumers and businesses, and in strict compliance with applicable law and regulation,” the press release announced.
Based on that perspective and the proposal of the Al Mada administrators, the WANA board said it decided “to abandon the action initiated in 2018 against Maroc Telecom before the commercial court of Rabat.”
The board said it was “confident in the prospects for [the] consolidation and development of the telecommunications sector.”
ANRT’s investigations started in May 2017. WANA had filed a complaint, in December 2016, against IAM for anti-competitive practices in “the implementation of local-loop unbundling.”
Local-loop unbundling is a regulatory process that allows multiple telecommunications operators to use connections from the telephone exchange, managed by IAM in Morocco, to customers’ homes.
According to ANRT’s report, IAM had participated, since 2013, in “cumulative conduct that had the effect of preventing and delaying competitors’ access to local-loop unbundling and the landline market.”
In addition to the financial penalty, the national telecommunications regulator has required Maroc Telecom to implement several measures, including the acceleration of the local-loop unbundling process. Any delays would add a “daily penalty” reaching up to MAD 4 million (about €376,500).
In response to the sanction, IAM issued a press release that did not exclude the possibility of an appeal. However, the telecommunications company has not taken any legal action yet.