The need for connectivity is just as important as food and water nowadays, whether you’re a freelancer, digital nomad, an influencer or you simply have business that needs to be in touch with back home. We’ll go over the best ways to stay connected while in Morocco.
Let’s cut it to the chase, one of the most annoying things to do while travelling abroad is staying connected, Yes, most hotels offer Wifi. However, they can’t always be relied on. Also, if you’re travelling, I’m assuming you will be on the road most of the time. So how can we get around this?
Majority of people traveling would prefer to rely on roaming from their service provider. As we’ll see, Roaming fees usually cost a fortune, and by the time you’re back home, you might be shocked by that phone bill with more zeros than you expected.
I had a friend from the US staying in Morocco for a month – she was using her phone quite often while on her holiday. When she went back home, she found a bill that almost reached a thousand dollars.
This can be avoided easily with few tips. We’ll cover in this article the most efficient ways on staying connected in Morocco:
Cellular & 4G
If you’re in Morocco and have a business operating back home, you’ll want a cellular number that works in Morocco, Especially if you need to call landline numbers, most landlines rarely offer VoiP integration. While many companies do, let’s assume that one of the suppliers you work with doesn’t.
Certainly, you can use the same number you own back home, all you need to do is to make sure your service providers offers a roaming plan by giving them a call, asking them to activate it, and off you go. However, as we discussed, if you’d rather avoid those unnecessary fees while staying connected in Morocco, most international carriers offer roaming, however their rates vary from a carrier to another.
Let’s look at some insights about Roaming fees :
- Traveling to Europe costs Brittons £575 Million per year.
- E.U companies pay around £2.4 billion a year of roaming fees according to information-age.com.
- U.S Businesses pay as much as 693,00 USD per traveler per trip.
- One in 7 travelers have an International SIM card to communicate while abroad.
- Data Roaming rates depend on which carrier you’re using, if you use data on your smartphone while abroad, it can cost from £8 or £20 per megabyte. To give you an idea, just checking a map on your phone would require around 1.5 megabyte.
- The highest ever roaming fee recorded was from an Australian guy traveling in Europe, he needed to pay almost half a million USD, according to Daily Mail.
So, how can we avoid those god forsaken fees while staying connected in Morocco?
The go-to solution is to use a local SIM card. However, to use a foreign SIM, your phone needs to be unlocked; there are two ways to unlock your phone, either go to your service provider and ask them to unlock your phone OR use a jailbreak; the later method would require you to be a little tech-savvy. If none of these methods work, don’t worry, we’ll go over some alternative, practical and more affordable ways to staying online while in Morocco.
Option 1: Buy a local prepaid SIM card – This is only an option for you have an unlocked phone.
One thing you need to think about is that once you change your phone’s SIM card, you automatically get assigned a new local number of the country you travel to, in this case it’s Morocco – Moroccan mobile number will start with +212 6/7 followed by 7 numbers), and so if you’re calling important clients, you probably wouldn’t want them to know you’re on a holiday in Morocco.
If that’s not a problem for you, then remember to inform your contacts that you’ll have a temporary phone number when traveling. Many businesses prefer to use one number when calling their clients/ suppliers, and so if this is the case for you, skip to option 2 and 3.
In Morocco, there are three service providers. In my opinion, only two of them work great: IAM and Orange. However, there are two distinct advantages and disadvantages to both of them.
Where to buy local SIM cards in Morocco?
If you arrive in working hours, you can usually find them around the airport, if you’re landing in Marrakech Airport, you can find the sales guys selling SIM cards right outside the arrivals terminal, just look around for the guys wearing orange or blue vests (Orange & IAM). If you’re already in town, go to any kiosk or grocery shop, they would have the same logos in the front of their store. *You may be required to show passport or ID when buying a SIM Card in Morocco.ADVANTAGESINCONVINIENCES
This should already give you an idea which service provider to use. If you’re going to be travelling in Morocco in remote areas, better get an IAM number, make sure you top up enough data and minutes on your new phone number in town before you hit the road.
HOW TO TOP UP YOUR DATA & MINUTES IN MOROCCO?
IAM (Maroc Telecom)
To top up with IAM, you can go to any grocery shop/ kiosk, and ask for a coupon (There are usually coupons from 20, 50, 100 and 200 MADwhere you scratch a number and follow the guidelines to top up.
This is a simple 3 step process:STEP 1Choose and purchase your coupon.STEP 2Scratch the grey area in the back of the coupon.STEP 3Send a text message with the 14 numbers to 555.
You should be getting a text message confirming your top-up minutes. If you want to add data, you need to add the 14 numbers scratched followed by *3 before you send the text message.
Here is a video of Dan Zakes on his trip in Morocco offering instructions on how to top up your Maroc Telecom SIM card. http://www.beyond-morocco.com/wp-admin/Staying%20Connected%20in%20Morocco%20-%20The%20Ultimate%20Guide%20to%20Keep%20You%20Online%20__files/hVzTJrFGt10.html
Orange is great because you would have the option to top up online through their app: “Orange et Moi”; however, their service is limited in cities and towns. If you’re going to be travelling in remote parts of Morocco, better get an IAM number.
To top up, you can do it through buying a coupon from any grocery shop/ kiosk and following instructions on the coupon. However, the most convenient way is to download the app “Orange et Moi”, and you’ll be able to pay online for your minutes and data.
The app is intuitive and pretty easy to use if you speak some basic French. It’s available for both iPhones and Android.STEP 1Download the app ‘Orange et Moi’, subscribe by adding your cellular number.STEP 2Go to the section: “recharge pour moi ou pour un proche”. Then select “mon numero”.STEP 3Select how much data you want – there are usually offers (i.e., 1 hour of minutes abroad for 25,00 MAD). Once you confirm the plan, you’ll be able to pay with any VISA / Master card.
Remember to keep an eye on the text message confirming your top up.
Option 2: Get an International plan with 4G service that works anywhere in the world.
If you travel often, I would recommend to best opt for an International plan for both cellular and data to help you stay connected in Morocco or aborad.
After looking through over ten different service providers, I’ve found that the best service that is compatible in Morocco and has the best ratings is KnowRoaming, they offer both data and minutes through an international SIM card. Each KnowRoaming comes with a free US number.
For only $3.99 per day, you get unlimited use in over 200 countries, including Morocco.
You can also “pay-as-you-go”, it starts at $0.15 per MB.
For Outgoing calls: rates start at $0.11 per minute for both mobile and landline, but again, this changes depending on the destination and country where you are calling.
In Morocco, (please double check as this might get updated) it’s $0.53 / MIN for landline and $0.90 / MIN for mobiles.
What I like about KnowRoaming is that you can pay as you go, depending on what kind of work you do. I’m assuming you’re not travelling all year round, KnowRoaming gives you the option to pay what you need when you need it. This is by far the best method to use if you travel often and would rather not pay the outrageous roaming fees.
KnowRoaming will help you save on the roaming, however, this would be depending on how many calls you make and how much data you need. On the other hand, you will be limited to a service provider that has an agreement with just one carrier in each destination. And so, the quality of the calls and the 4G broadband speed may not be up to the standard you want.
If you’re looking for a more powerful solution, read along.
Option 3: The by far best option for staying connected in Morocco and worldwide.
If minutes and cellular calls are not something you’re worried about (if you are, read about Google Voip below), I would highly recommend SkyRoam. Especially if you travel often and want to stay connected through multiple devices without draining your phone using mobile hotspot.
If you’re travelling and work remotely, I would advise you to add SkyRoam to your packing list. This pocket device is impressive, it connects to the best service in town, no matter the service provider. And so if one service provider’s signal is weak in one area, it will connect to the carrier’s signal that’s most powerful. This guarantees that you will have the best signal available almost anywhere you go.
If minutes is not something you’re worried about and would prefer to use VoIP calls (Skype, FaceTime, WhatsApp etc.). Then this is the best solution for you.
We’ve had clients using SkyRoam while in Morocco, and it works wonders! They were using it even in some hotels because the wifi signal was weak, or when the internet speed was really low.
The husband was a real estate agent and had to follow up with his team and clients during the trip. And so with SkyRoam, he had the option to stay connected throughout the whole trip in Morocco.
What I like about this device most, is that you don’t have to worry which service provider works best in each destination, the device connects you to the best cellular 4G available in proximity.
If VoIP calls are not for you, and would rather use a real phone number to call your customers or suppliers. I would recommend downloading Google Voip, a free virtual business phone app.
With a personal plan, you get a virtual phone number and will be able to call anywhere in the US and Canada for free. The app is free for personal use. However, if you’re planning to use this often for business, I would opt for the $10 per user/per month. The app allows you to connect to your real number, or choose a new phone number based on the location you prefer.
To stay connected in Morocco, you need to keep in mind these tips:
1. Wifi, even when promoted available in hotels, they are not necessarily fast enough to make conference calls, or to download/upload a presentation. Especially in rural areas; the desert, the mountains, remote villages, etc.. If you’re lucky, you may be able to check/send your emails.
2. If you’re planning to use the same number/SIM card you have back home, you need to understand that you may have a ridiculous phone bill waiting for you. Your service provider will be charging you whenever you use your phone abroad – for what they call “Roaming Fees”.
To avoid the roaming fees, you can either buy a local SIM card / Number. However, this means you will need to unlock your phone and have a different number than your original phone number back home.
If you would like to keep your original SIM card/Number, you would need to ask your carrier to activate roaming services – Keep in mind that not all carriers offer worldwide plans. When they do, it costs a fortune.
3. If you’re opting for local SIM cards, you need to go through the hassle of acquiring one and making sure you understand the top up procedure which varies depending on which service provider you choose. You also need to make sure your phone is unlocked and can operate a foreign SIM card.
4. The best option so far, especially if you travel often is to go for the SKyRoam. This secure WiFi pocket device allows you to connect to the best 4G cellular networks available in over 120 countries worldwide. And if you prefer to keep your phone number to make cell or landline calls to your clients/ partners, download the app Google Voip, more information on that above.
Whether, you’re travelling for business, or you simply have an important need to stay connected while on your trips in Morocco. I hope I helped you decide which options would work best for you. Some of these options we discussed would not help you stay connected while traveling in Morocco only, but anywhere else around the world.
Do you have any questions about you staying connected in Morocco? Or any points we discussed over this article? Please contact us and we’ll be happy to answer any of your questions.
Curious of what kind of Morocco travel ideas we have? check Tom’s Immersive Journey across the country. And find out why he decided to visit Morocco! Follow us oninstagram to see our 3000 kms bike tour.
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