Morocco’s fixed line customers grow by over 20% in second quarter

Moroccan telecoms regulator ANRT has reported that the country’s fixed telephony subscribers rose by 20.48% quarter-on-quarter in April-June 2007 to 1.94 million, mostly thanks to the recent introduction of limited mobility wireless in the local loop (WiLL) services. According to the watchdog, fixed telephony penetration rose to 6.36% from 5.39% over the same period. The fixed line market had seen an unprecedented 27.24% rise in subscribers over the first quarter of the year to reach 1.61 million at the end of March, up from 1.266 million at the end of December 2006. Meanwhile, internet subscribers grew by 10% in the second quarter of 2007 to 476,909, from 433,399 at end-March and 341,859 at mid-2006. ADSL services accounted for 444,633 of the total customers, up from 424,713 the previous quarter and 331,746 a year ago. The fixed line monopoly of the incumbent Maroc T©l©com was broken with the launch of fixed-wireless services by its mobile sector rival M©di T©l©com (Meditel), backed by Portugal Telecom and Spain’s Telef³nica, in May 2006. A third national licensee, Wana (formerly ISP Maroc Connect), owned by domestic conglomerate Omnium Nord Afrique (ONA), launched residential fixed and limited mobility services in January 2007 under the Bayn brand, and CDMA-based fixed-wireless internet access two months later. Meditel is planning to launch WiMAX fixed-wireless internet access, but is initially concentrating its online efforts on its cellular HSDPA service for laptop users, launched in April.