After first being announced in January, Morocco began enforcing its ban of “Voice over IP”, or “VoIP,” on mobile devices, in a move that prevents conventional Moroccan smartphone users from using popular video call programs like Skype, WhatsApp, Viber, and more.
The northern African kingdom’s telecom regulatory body, Agence Nationale de Réglementation des Télécommunications, said in a statement that “Telephony [sic] services can only be provided by those who hold an official telecommunications licence [sic]…Free telephony [sic] on internet protocol does not fulfil these conditions…”
This decision has proved a boon to internet service provider Maroc Telecom, which controls 40% of Morocco’s telecom market. According to The Africa Report, Marco Telecom’s reported a 16% rise in net income in Q1 2016, to $1.6 billion.
In light of the ban, however, some users are turning to Dark Web solutions.
Many users have opted to use Betternet, a local VPN service, to get around the ban via proxy. Additionally, mobile users have downloaded TOR onto their phones, specifically the Orbot app and the Orfox browser, both of which are free, open-source, and available on the google play store for Android.
This follows a similar move in The Gambia in 2013, when the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority banned Skype from internet cafés.