This weekend saw Moroccan telcos extend the blocking of VOIP (Skype, Viber, WhatsApp) calls from phones to Wifi connections. The result was that around the world thousands of expat Moroccans were unable to contact their families back in Morocco
Moroccans living in Europe, America and Australasia were understandably angry and have been using social media to call for the government to quickly fix the problem and amend the laws effecting VOIP calls..
The anger spread to Moroccans throughout the Kingdom who were also unable to use Viber or Skype to talk to each other.
While the Telcos - Maroc Telecom, Meditel and Inwi - are indulging in blame shifting, saying the problem is the fault of the regulator, Morocco’s National Agency for Telecommunications Networks, for their part the regulator claims the choking of calls is “in accordance with the law, and that 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.”
It seems to have escaped them that none of the Telcos at the heart of the mess offer any such service.
The situation is proving to be an embarrassment for Morocco, which in so many other areas is embracing new technology. However, this step backwards, fuelled by the desire for increased revenue by the telcos, is the thing that needs to be blocked - not Viber, Whatsapp and Skype.