A Short Note on Corruption in Telecommunications in the Kingdom of Morocco
University of the Witwatersrand, LINK Centre
February 7, 2012
The Kingdom of Morocco is located in the North-West Africa. It has been an absolute monarchy for centuries, though a new constitution adopted in 2011 may reduce the powers of the sovereign to a limited extent.
The path to reform of telecommunications began in the mid-1990s with a restructuring of the incumbent PTT to create Maroc Telecom, a post office and a regulator. Liberalisation began in 1999 with the successful auction of a second mobile licence to a consortium led by Portugal Telecom and Telefónica de España. The government then sold a stake in Maroc Telecom to Vivendi as a strategic investor.
From there the course began to alter as the King, through his holding company, monopolised all further moves to open the market. First there was the acquisition of an ISP belonging to France Telecom. Then the regulator, appointed by the King, awarded it a CDMA fixed wireless licence, a fixed licence, a 3G licence and a GSM licence so that today it holds a significant share of the market.
The only entrants to the Moroccan market in recent years have been France Telecom which acquired a non-controlling stake in the second GSM operator and Zain, together with the Kuwait Investment Fund, which took a non-controlling stake in the King’s operator.
It is difficult to conceive of a route to fair competition when the King appoints ministers who determine policy and serve on the board on Maroc Telecom, while its principal rival is owned by the King himself.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 18
Keywords: Telecommunications, Mobile, Africa, Morocco, Governance, Corruption, Competition, Regulation
JEL Classification: K10, K14, K23, K33, K42, L13, L96, O17
Date posted: February 9, 2012