What's in the box.
If you are heading to Morocco you're going to want to get online and the best way to go about this is to purchase a Maroc Telecom dongle.

Campsite Wifi has been, in our experience, unreliable and by contrast we found the dongle incredibly fast and easily quick enough to have a video Skype call back to the UK. Of course there may be areas where reception is limited but overall we have been very impressed.

Where to Buy
A Typical Maroc Telecom Shop
We would recommend purchasing one from a branded shop rather then a third party dealer for piece of mind, these look exactly like the phone shops we have back at home garishly decorated in blue and orange. The sign may be in 'English' or Arabic but the logo remains the same. We purchased ours at a Maroc Telecom shop within a Marjane Supermarket in Marrakesh. You will need your passport with you as a form of identification and you will receive a small box containing your modem and a shrink-wrapped credit card sized package which is your SIM.

If you are traveling anticlockwise around Morocco, the first Maroc Telecom shop you come to is in Asilah. The shop has a red and white phone mast on the top of the building so you can't miss it!

The address is - Rue Khalid Ben Oualid n° 41

The Cost
In January 2012 the cost was 199dh (£15) which includes a USB modem, most likely a Huawei 153, SIM card and also a months worth of unlimited internet use which begins when you first insert the dongle.

How to Use
Remove the dongle from the package and insert the sim card by sliding the white cover off the device. Take a note of the PIN code printed on the card as you removed your SIM from as you will be promoted for this each time you connect to the internet.

Simply insert the dongle into your laptop and allow it to install. If the Autorun install application does not begin, go to My Computer and there will be two new icons a Removeable Drive and and CD Drive Internet Mobile  Click this and open the folder named 'Internet Mobile' and click Setup.exe.

Screenshots of the software once installed.

The Speeds
The connection speed is up to 3.6Mbps which is easily enough for Skype with video, although the speed is limited once you exceed 400MB in one day to 128Kbps which is still perfectly usable for general browsing. The software provided shows you how much data you have consumed.

If you think that 400MB/day is not enough then read the 'Other Providers' below, there are some alternatives but the coverage is not as good.

The Data Coverage
You should be able to get some form of internet in the majority of locations in Morocco. In reality we have almost always been able to achieve the fastest speed, HSDPA.

There are other providers available and the biggest competitor is Meditel but having spoken to some other people and having Sophie's phone connected to the network I am not convinced that the coverage is better than Maroc Telecom.

Topping Up
Once you have used your free allowance you will need to top-up your account by either purchasing a top-up card at one of the many outlets across the country or online via Maroc Telecom Website which will still be accessible without any credit.

If you choose to buy a top-up card from a reseller or store you need to text the code from the back of the card using the software's built in SMS function to 555. Once your credit runs out your account is temporarily suspended and if after 3 months you have not topped up your account is cancelled.

A 100dh Topup Voucher
Sending an SMS using the Software
•  1 day: 10 dh (75p)
•  2 days: 20 dh (£1.50)
•  1 week: 50 dh (£3.75)
•  2 weeks: 100 dh (£7.50)
•  1 month: 200 dh (£15)

You may find that, as in Jan '12, that retailers are running a 'double credit' promotion so that the prices above are in effect halved.

Tip: If you want to check what date your allowance expires, send a blank text message within the software to 580.

Improving Reception
By far the best way to improve your reception and chances of achieving a HSDPA connection is to place your dongle outside your van. To do this you will need a USB extension cable no more than 3 meters long and some method of attaching the dongle to an external surface. In our case we simply used a clothes peg to attach it to our roof-mounted Wifi antenna!

You could also consider removing the sim card and placing it in a different dongle with an external antenna point using the APN settings available on the internet but if you are considering this you probably already have a pretty good idea what you are doing!

Other Providers
Meditel is the second biggest provider of 3G in Morocco and is snapping at the heals or Maroc Telecom. Their dongle deal is presently 229 dh (£17) including 30 days worth of Internet or 22Gb whichever you use up first . If you don't want a dongle then the price is 99 dh (£7.50). Their pricing structure is slightly different to that of Maroc telecom in that instead of a daily 'allowance' it is priced by data used and by time, whichever is used up first.
  • 24hrs / 1GB = 10 dh (75p)
  • 3 Days / 3GB = 25 dh (£1.90)
  • 7 Days / 5GB = 50 dh (£3.75)
  • 30 Days / 22GB = 200 dh (£15)
However, compared to Maroc telecom I am lead to believe that the coverage is not so good. We have been on sites where we have 5 bars HSDPA on our Maroc dongle but our neighbour had only very slow GPRS coverage.Click here for a coverage map.

There is also a provider called Wana (IMWI) which is a relative newcommer. A dongle currently costs 290 dh (£22) which includes 2 months unlimited internet with as far as we can tell. The coverage, however, is not so great so check before you buy (click here for coverage map). Top ups are:
  • 1 day - 20 dh (£1.50)
  • 1 Week - 70 dh (£5.25)
  • 1 month - 180 dh (£13.50)

Use the SIM in other devices
If you use your Moroccan SIM in another device, you will need your APN Settings.

Maroc Telecom
username: (blank)
password: (blank)
APN: www.iamgprs1.ma (contract) or www.iamgprs2.ma (maybe menara prepaid) or wap.iamgprs.ma (3G Jawal)

Medi Telecom (Meditel)
username: MEDINET
password: MEDINET
APN: internet1.meditel.ma

Wana Corporate S.A. (inwi)
username: WANA
password: WANA
APN: www.wana.ma

Sharing The Internet
We don't have an iPad so can't comment on if the data SIM will work in there or in a mobile phone or tablet, however by far the easiest way to share the internet connection is to use a bit of software called Connectify which turns your laptops built in Wifi card (which is not being used) into a wireless hotspot. You will need to purchase the 'pro' version in order to share a 3G connection, I will be writing a review on it shortly. 

See also: The Maroc Telecom Website
                The Meditel Website
                The Wana (IMWI) Website

Post a Comment

  1. Simple but effective............the clothes peg that is. lol

    Many thanks for the article Adam.

    Jock & Rita.

  2. More excellent advice.
    We always look forward to your email

    Eddie & Sue(in Croatia)

  3. very helpful, thankyou, off to marrakech now to find a dongle from maroc telecom

    ian in maroc