Moroccan fixed-wireless operator Wana has announced that it has signed up a million subscribers to its residential fixed line and limited mobility telephony service ‘Bayn’ in its first nine months of operation, beating all industry expectations as well as its own predictions. Saad Bendidi, CEO of Wana’s parent, Moroccan conglomerate Omnium Nord Afrique (ONA), told press in Casablanca that the stronger than expected take-up means that it may have to increase its spending on infrastructure and customer services. TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database says that Wana (formerly Maroc Connect) paid MAD306 million (USD34.63 million) for Morocco’s third national fixed line network operating licence in September 2005, allowing it to roll out limited mobility services within a 35km local area. In January 2007 the operator adopted the name Wana and a new residential brand, Bayn, to mark the launch of consumer fixed line services, which took place on 2 February. Its offering includes the choice of traditional fixed telephone or ‘personal’ phone. The latter is a limited mobility WiLL service offering urban coverage. In March, following further rollouts in partnership with ZTE, Wana upgraded parts of its CDMA network with 1xEV-DO technology, enabling it to offer high speed internet/data services. It competes against former monopoly Maroc Telecom, a subsidiary of France’s Vivendi, and Medi Telecom, co-owned by Spain’s Telefonica and Portugal Telecom. ONA owns 100% of Wana, previously owned by France Telecom (FT); in 2004 the French telco sold its stake in the Moroccan operator, then purely an ISP offering services to a mainly corporate client base under FT’s former international brand Wanadoo.
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