Morocco lifts ban on voice over internet calls

2016-11-06 09:01

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Rabat - Morocco has lifted a nearly one-year ban on calls made through popular internet services like Skype and WhatsApp, the national telecommunications regulatory agency said on Friday.

The surprise announcement comes days before Morocco is to host COP22 climate talks from November 7 to 18.

In January, the regulatory agency ANRT imposed a ban on Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services, effectively preventing people from making free phone calls through the internet.

The move sparked anger among internet users and around 10 000 people signed a petition addressed to the head of the agency demanding that voice over calls be reinstated.

The agency on Friday said that telecommunications operators were now "authorised to re-establish" VoIP services and applications across their networks.

It said it had lifted the ban after carrying out an "evaluation on the national and international level of the telecommunications markets".

When it imposed the ban, ANRT said VoIP services could only be supplied by outfits which hold a proper licence.

On Friday it said it would strive to ensure that users benefit "from the best technology... in harmony with regulation".

Until Friday, WhatsApp users could send text messages, pictures and videos but not to make free phone calls.

Some newspapers reporting on the latest move meanwhile wondered if the ANRT was lifting the ban only temporarily ahead of the COP22 climate talks.

Read more on:    un  |  morocco  |  cop22  |  north africa

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