Why Did Morocco Ban VoIP & Why Is South Africa Looking To Regulate OTT Services?

I hope you're having a better week than the backlash that is swelling up against policy makers in Morocco, South Africa and Kenya.

First is Morocco who, as my colleague Ali Elouafiq points out, have decided to ban Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services like Skype and WhatsApp calls. Ali elaborates that

"The National Agency for Regulating Telecommunications (ANRT) has banned VoIP services since the beginning of 2016, i.e. VoIP calls both over landlines and broadband. The ANRT claims that the VoIP services (WhatsApp, Skype, etc) should get a license first."

Ali adds that this is based on a policy / regulation in the Moroccan Telecom Regulations governing IP Telephony services but this regulation has been in place since 2004, why now?

Furthermore, the ANRT claimed that the ban was due to telecoms operators losing huge revenues, which may harm the Moroccan economy."

Then compare this to South Africa where Vodacom and MTN are calling for the state and relevant agencies to regulate Over The Top services like WhatsApp and Skype and you slowly start to get a picture that the operators are not really thinking about what is best for their customers but rather how they can protect their voice revenues by any means necessary.

Emotions aside, truth is they own the telecoms infrastructure that these VoIP / OTT services and they continue to invest in it. Also, they are well within their rights to call for regulation or bans based on policies / regulations passed by their respective governments, but is this the best solution for their customers?

Why not quietly just introduce VoIP / OTT data bundles (monthly)?

Surely going public and talking about regulation or bans sends the wrong message to customers?

Also, if they persist, all that happens is customers will start using VPNs (even on smartphones) to continue using OTT services, this will present operators with a new problem, no?

As if that isn't enough, in Kenya policy makers are calling for the regulation of Netflix, i.e. Netflix must be required to get a films and publications license to operate in Kenya.

As they say in Nigeria (where the government is looking to regulate social media):

"I dey tire".

¯_(ツ)_/¯

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