MOROCCAN ISP MAROC CONNECT AWARDED THIRD FIXED LINE LICENCE BY ANRT

Telecoms

In an unprecedented move, the Moroccan regulator ANRT has granted a third fixed network operating licence to an ISP. Maroc Connect is part of France Telecom's Wanadoo franchise network. No other licence of such scale or significance has ever been given to an ISP and this is perhaps a signal of shifting times in the relationship between the two sectors,

Maroc Connect is due to pay MAD306 million (USD34.63 million) for the concession, which allows limited mobility services within a 35km area, and also requires an investment of MAD1 billion in the first year. It has a strategic partnership with ONE.

The 35 km mobility allowance is generous and may encourage local mobile use on the network. It beat Egyptian-backed Orascom Telecom Maroc in a tender process launched on 20 June 2005. The licence is described as a "new generation" licence and includes both national backbone and international services.

Maroc Connect is committed to exploiting new, low cost technologies like CDMA and WiMAX and building an alternative fibre infrastructure that will compete with Maroc Telecom on that ground.