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Traveling to Morocco? Wondering where and how to buy a local SIM card for your trip to Morocco? We’ve done all the research so you don’t have to!
We spent three months in Morocco in 2023 and tried the three big mobile providers for a month each, and share our findings here.
In this guide to Moroccan SIM cards, we’ll answer all your frequently asked questions, including where to buy your SIM card and data, how to get the best signal and speed, how to get the best 4G, and how to keep your phone topped up for the whole of your stay.
Do You Need a SIM Card in Morocco?
Most Moroccan hotels, cafés, and restaurants have pretty good WiFi services, so you may be wondering why you even need a mobile SIM card when you’re traveling in Morocco.
If you’re always on the go, using public transport or driving, and hopping between cities and attractions, then a local SIM card is invaluable. The convenience of being able to check your bank balance, translate, book a hotel, or even call for roadside assistance just make life on the road a little bit easier.
Also, public networks in hostels, shopping malls, and eateries are not secure. If you need to manage personal banking, send emails, or do anything other than browsing and streaming, you’ll be vulnerable using the internet in Morocco over a public network.
Good to Know: All Morocco prepaid SIM card prices and exchange rates are accurate at the time of going to press in mid-March 2023.
What About Your Existing Provider?
You will not be able to use your data, make calls or send texts with your domestic contract unless you’re willing to spend a lot of money.
Our United Kingdom based mobile phone provider charges us £3.33/US$3.73 per 1GB, or £6/US$6.73 a day for an international roaming package, and some American friends we met in Morocco were looking at even higher costs to use their cell phones overseas.
The best option is to buy a local SIM card. You’ll need to make sure your phone is unlocked, and it’s best to do this before you arrive in Morocco, as it can take a few days.
But what if you don’t want to swap SIMs and lose your number? You could get a portable wifi device, use an eSIM or use an app for calling – but we’ll come onto that later.
Good to Know: All Moroccan operators use 4G, with the transition to 5G expected in 2023.
Best SIM for Morocco: Our Recommendation
If you’re in a hurry and just want to know the best data SIM card to use in Morocco, then go with Maroc Telecom, the largest of the three providers. You can get a Maroc Telecom tourist SIM at Marrakech Airport for 20MAD, which is £1.60/US$1.90, and 5GB of data will cost 50MAD, or £4/US$4.80.
We recommend Maroc Telecom because it has by far the best signal coverage and a wide network of stores and re-sellers across the country, even in the smallest of villages. It is not the cheapest of the Moroccan mobile operators, but at around 80p/96c per 1GB of top-up data, it is at least 70% cheaper than the equivalent costs in the UK or USA.
Good to know: In Morocco, gigabytes are referred to as GO, and not GB.
Is this your first time visiting Morocco? Get all the information you need in our Morocco Travel Guide, including what to pack, the best time of year to go, getting there, and practical tips to help you have the best trip!
Buying Tourist SIM Cards in Morocco
Morocco Telecom Operators
The sale of Morocco data SIM cards to visitors is controlled and you will only be able to purchase a tourist pre-paid SIM card, which has a nominal balance for calls and SMS. Data must be added separately.
Morocco has three big SIM card providers – Maroc Telecom, Orange Morocco, and Inwi. You’ll find their stores and re-seller shops and kiosks (where you can top-up) at the airports, ferry ports, and in every town and city across the country.
It’s best to buy your SIM card directly from one of their stores, rather than a reseller, kiosk, or street vendor, who may charge you more than the face value and not set it up correctly.
There are no official unlimited data options in Morocco for non-residents, but keep reading for a potential unofficial unlimited SIM!
How to Buy Your Morocco SIM Card
SIM cards are valid for one year and registered against your passport – you must take this with you when you buy the SIM. Once purchased, pop the SIM into your phone, add the data, and check everything is working.
You can only pay for SIM cards and top-ups (called recharger in Morocco) with cash as none of the telecom providers accept anything other than Moroccan-registered credit or debit cards.
You may be able to purchase special data plans with a fixed amount of data per month for a discounted price, but this really only works if you’re planning on staying in the country for more than 90 days.
Good to know: The following frequencies are used in Morocco: 2G – 900 MHz; 3G – 900 MHz & 2100 MHz; 4G/LTE – 800 MHz (Band 20), 1800 MHz (Band 3), and 2600 MHz (Band 7).
Data cards are usually valid for 30 days and generally come in 50MAD or lower denominations, with the largest being 200MAD, which gets you 20GB, although we found most re-sellers do not stock the larger cards.
All Moroccan operators use scratch-off top-up cards or carte de grattage which can be bought widely, and are easy to use based on sending free SMS messages;
Good to know: If you use a lot of data like us, it can be a tedious process of scratching and typing to get your top-ups loaded. If I’ve done a large batch, I usually send an SMS to 580 for my balance, just to make sure all the cards have been loaded.
Compare Morocco SIM Card Providers
SIM: 20MAD £1.60/US$1.90, including 20MAD of credit for national calls and SMS.
Data: Data is topped up with data scratch cards, which cost from 5MAD (40p/48c) for 500MB to 100MAD (£8/US$9.62) for 10GB.
App: The Maroc Telecom app is available in Arabic and French for both IoS and Android operating systems, but we would advise you to get this set up in the Maroc Telecom store when you first buy your SIM card, as you need a password. We were unable to use the app to top-up with a UK-registered credit or debit card, and couldn’t find a way to use the scratch cards with the app, but we did use it to keep an eye on data usage.
Coverage: Maroc Telecom is widely considered to have the best mobile network coverage in the country, which is backed up by their network coverage map. We were able to get a strong 4G signal in even the most remote of spots. Think Erg Chigaga in the Sahara desert, and remote Tafraoute in the Anti-Atlas mountains.
Speed: We were able to upload large video files to YouTube quickly, download high-resolution images easily and stream Netflix. Speed tests showed download speeds regularly in excess of 30mbps.
Good to Know: According to speedtest.net Morocco ranks 63rd in the world for internet speed, with a median download speed of 32.10mbps and a median upload speed of 10.09mbps.
More Morocco Travel Guides
SIM: 20MAD (£1.60/US$1.90) included 20MAD of credit for national calls and SMS.
Data: Data is topped up with data scratch cards, which cost from 5MAD (40p/48c) for 500MB to 100MAD (£8/US$9.62) for 10GB.
App: Called Orange et moi Maroc, the app is available in Arabic and French for both IoS and Android operating systems. We found this app to be user-friendly (it helps to have a little French) and registration was easy with the telephone number from the SIM card. We were not able to top-up in the app using a UK card, but you can top up using the QR code function to read the scratchcard, saving endless time typing in long numbers! The app also shows your data usage.
Coverage: The Orange Maroc coverage was not as wide as Maroc Telecom – we found this SIM worked less well in southern Morocco, and remore rural spots.
Speed: We were able to upload large video files to YouTube, download high-resolution images, and stream Netflix. Speed tests showed download speeds regularly in excess of 20mbps.
Good to Know: Orange has a giveaway every Friday, called Mes Cadeaux. Just tap the gift icon in the app and see what you get. We’ve had free social media for a day, two hours of unlimited data (yep, we updated everything), and free data.
SIM: 50MAD £4/US$4.80, including 50MAD of credit for national calls and SMS.
Data: Data is topped up with data scratch cards, which cost from 5MAD (40p/48c) for 500MB to 200MAD (£16/US$19.24) for 20GB.
App: Called My Inwi, the app is available in Arabic and French for both IoS and Android operating systems. We found the app to be user-friendly and it was easy to register – just enter your number and a passcode will be sent by SMS to complete the process. Again, it’s not possible to buy data through the app, but you can see how much you’ve used and what you have left.
Coverage: Inwi’s coverage is probably the poorest of the three providers, with patchy service to the east and south of the country.
Speed: When we were able to get a signal, we were able to upload large video files to YouTube, download high-resolution images, and stream Netflix. Speed tests showed download speeds regularly in excess of 20mbps.
Good to know: We know travelers who have been able to buy an unlimited Inwi SIM for 200MAD (£16/US$19.24) a month on a rolling basis, but we were unable to do this and there is no official package showing unlimited mobile data on their website. It’s worth an ask though, you may just get lucky…
Using a VPN in Morocco
It is legal to use a VPN in Morocco. The government, however, does selectively restrict online platforms. They are particularly concerned with online communication, with restrictions on Skype, WhatsApp, and Facebook Messenger in place at times. We particularly stryggled with making calls using Messenger.
We recommend NordVPN as they offer obfuscated servers, meaning not only can you disguise your IP address at the receiving end, you can disguise it in Morocco too, meaning you can use NordVPN without detection.
We used NordVPN on our phones and Macbooks for the duration of our three-month stay, meaning we could catch up with Netflix and Amazon Prime, manage personal finances, and access lots of websites we wouldn’t have been able to otherwise, like Facebook and WhatsApp.
Using an eSIM in Morocco
An eSIM is a virtual SIM, which usually provides data only. The benefits of eSIMs are multiple;
- An eSIM card works in your phone in conjunction with your normal SIM – you can move between using one or the other, meaning you can keep your usual number.
- You buy your eSIM online, making them extremely convenient.
- eSIM providers work with lots of networks, meaning you’ll connect to the best one wherever you are.
- An eSIM can cover multiple locations and not tie you to one country. Think the whole of Europe, Africa or North America – how simple would that be?
- No data roaming fees – you know the costs upfront.
- You can organize your eSIM at home and activate it on arrival.
- These data-only SIM cards mean you’re not paying for minutes and texts you don’t need and won’t use.
The only downside is that you have to pay for the convenience, and the per GB cost is high in comparison to local prices. 1GB of data in Morocco with popular eSIM provider Airalo costs £7.90/US$9.50, in comparison to £1.60/US$1.92 for 1GB of Maroc Telecom top-up data.
Good to Know: Your device needs to be unlocked. e-SIMs don’t work with all mobile devices – you can check whether your phone is compatible here.
Price: £22.50 to £39 / US$27 to US$47
Included: From 2.5GB of data for 5 days at the lowest rate to 7.5GB for 15 days at the highest rate. You can use this eSIM to tether and hotspot.
How: Buy online and receive a QR code (so you need a second device or someone with you) to scan, and you’re good to go. Use code THEGAPDECADERS to get 5% off your order.
RELATED POST: Holafly eSIM Review: The Best Unlimited eSIM for Travel?
Price: £7.90 / US$9.50
Included: 1GB of data valid for 7 days. You can use this eSIM to tether and hotspot.
How: Buy online and receive a QR code (so you need a second device or someone with you) to scan, and you’re good to go. Use code IZZY9131 to get US$3 discount on your order.
RELATED POST: Airalo Review: The Best eSIM Card for Travel?
Price: £11 – £47 / US$14 – £59
Included: Between 1GB of data valid for 7 days and 10GB of data for 30 days. You can use this eSIM to tether and hotspot.
How: Buy online and receive a QR code (so you need a second device or someone with you) to scan, and you’re good to go. Use code IZZY47KJ to get US$3 discount on your order.
RELATED POST: Nomad eSIM: The Best eSIM for Europe?
Price: £13 to £48 / US$16 to US$60
Included: From 3GB to 20GB of data, valid from 7 to 30 days. You can use this Europe travel eSIM to tether and hotspot. Also included is a VPN (only if using an iPhone).
Top-Up: At the end of the unlimited period, just buy another pack in the app for your existing eSIM.
How: Buy online and add automatically, no need for a QR code of second device, but you do need internet. Use code Gap24 to get €3 dicsount.
RELATED POST: Yesim Review: The Best eSIM Option for Europe?
Portable WiFi Device for Morocco
A portable wifi device or portable hotspot means you can keep your number, and tether or hotspot to the device, wherever you are. A pocket wifi device like this operates like a router at home, meaning more than one device can be connected simultaneously.
Instead of connecting to your internet service provider, the WiFi device uses cloud SIM technology, meaning you don’t need to buy a SIM card because it’s already included.
GlocalMe devices usually come pre-loaded with a few GB of data, and then you can buy more via their app or online. GlocalMe offers a variety of packs from one-day passes for £3.60/US$4, to an 8GB 30-day pack for £40/US$45.
Just register your device online or in the app and purchase data packs for immediate mobile internet connectivity.