Have Whatsapp, Viber and Skype been partially blocked in Morocco? At a time of the year when thousands of people are phoning their relatives around the world many in Morocco have found VoIP applications blocked. The users accuse telecom operators, Morocco Telecom, Meditel and Inwi
Free calls via the Internet are now a standard way of communicating with applications such as Facetime, Whatsapp, Viber and Skype. However, the proliferation of smartphones and free calls has had a significant impact on telecom revenue from traditional calls. It becomes cheaper for the user to use such services "VoIP" than traditional calls.
For several days over the holiday season many internet users were surprised at not being able to use their free applications.
According to Telquel magazine, this is not the first time that operators have been accused of illegally blocking access to these free services. In August 2014, the Ecofin agency reported blockage by Morocco Telecom, of multiple applications: "For two weeks, subscribers of Morocco Telecom complained of not being able to access the VoIP application Viber. Nothing works, either with a 3G or ADSL connection." In 2012, there was also a period of time when Viber and Skype applications were blocked for several days.
Tested by Telquel.ma, the three operators had blocked access to these applications. With Meditel, Morocco Telecom or Inwi Telquel found it impossible to make a call using Whatsapp. Calls via a wifi connection only worked partially.
The blocking may have only been temporary as when The View from Fez made a Viber call between Morocco and Australia there was no problem. However, other reports say that 3G and 4G users are now blocked from all VoIP calls and that those using Wifi connections will also be totally blocked in the next couple of months.
When Telquel called Morocco Telecom, Inwi and Meditel, none of the operators wished to answer their questions.
Whatever the reasons, the move is at odds with accepted practice and will result in justifiable anger at the telcos.