Morocco SIM Card & WiFi: Top Picks for Reliability

If you’re preparing for a trip to Morroco, you’re likely wondering about the availability of SIM cards, quality of cell phone service, and overall internet access. I spent one month in Morocco and relied on WiFi for my remote job. No doubt, there were times when the connection was bad or, in a couple of cases, there was no signal at all. But overall, I found Morocco SIM card and WiFi availability good enough to satisfy the demands of my digital nomad job.

The internet has a lot to say about WiFi and SIM cards in Morocco. So, what is and isn’t true? I worked remotely in six Moroccan cities and towns, and I’m here to share my personal experience with you.

In this guide, I’ll cover where to get a Morocco SIM card and the most reliable companies for WiFi. I’ll also talk about the reliability of services like Whatsapp and Skype.

Where I Visited

To give you context for the rest of this post, I visited Tangier, Chefchaouen, Fes, Marrakech, Essaouira, and Casablanca.  Personal and work demands required me to use Outlook, Gmail, Google Hangouts, Skype, WhatsApp, and custom software using a VPN.

I got by—and in a few situations scraped by—using all of these services in Morocco. However, I found video calls had a tendency to be choppy and delayed, particularly in Chefchaouen.

At the end of this post, I’ll talk in more detail about how reliable the internet is in Morocco. But first, let’s talk about Morocco SIM cards and which ones are best for reliability.

What is a SIM card?

A SIM card is a chip that goes into your phone and offers call, text, and data (WiFi) plans. Purchasing a SIM card is the best way to get a strong and reliable internet connection in Morocco.

A Morocco SIM card on someone's finger.
SIM cards are small plastic chips that go inside cell phones. Photo by smjbk is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Additionally, SIM cards will save you money compared to paying for an international call and data plan through your cell phone company.

In order to use a SIM card in Morocco, your cell phone needs to be unlocked. Consumer Reports details the steps you’ll need to take in order to unlock your cell phone. Keep in mind that unlocking methods vary depending on your phone and cell phone provider.

Once your cell phone is unlocked, not only will you be able to purchase a SIM card in Morocco, but you’ll be able to buy SIM cards for any other country you visit.

The call and data plan savings is truly limitless for travelers!

Did you know?

An Australian tourist in Europe arrived home to a $571,000 USD phone bill thanks to international call and data charges. His phone was stolen, and in the 24 hour period before his cell phone company canceled his plan, the thief browsed the internet and spent a considerable amount of time talking to people in Somalia.

Eventually, they waived the bill.

But I bet he was wishing he had bought a SIM card during those agonizing days when he was told he’d have to shell out over half a million dollars!

Purchasing a Morocco SIM Card

There’s no shortage of SIM cards in Morocco. The best places to buy a Moroccan SIM card are at airports and cell phone stores.

You may also find people selling SIM cards at snack stands, tobacco shops, and magazine stands, although more bartering will likely be involved. Therefore, it’s best to purchase your SIM card through a designated cell phone/SIM card specialist at an airport or cell phone store.

It’s important to note that by inserting a Moroccan SIM card into your phone, you will lose access to your current phone number. Therefore, when your Morocco SIM card is in your phone, people will need to contact you via your new Moroccan number.

Anyone trying to contact your regular cell phone number when your Moroccan phone number has taken its place will receive an error message.

Once you insert your old SIM card back into your phone, your original phone number will work again.

How much do Morocco SIM cards cost?

So, you’ve decided to buy a SIM card in Morocco. But how much does it cost?

You can expect to spend around 40 – 50 MAD for a Morocco SIM card.

That equates to less than $6 USD for better internet than you’ll encounter at most Moroccan hotels and public spaces.

Instructions for inserting a Morocco SIM card.
Photo by Tony Webster is licensed under CC BY 2.0

How much do data plans cost in Morocco?

The figures above are based on purchasing the SIM card alone, not a data plan.

But rest easy; call, text, and data plans are cheap in Morocco.

Most likely, your new SIM card will already come with some free data on it. There’s a variety of call, text, and data plans in Morocco to fit different intensities of use and length of stays.

The person selling you your SIM card will help you choose the best fit plan for your needs.

You don’t have to commit to a long term SIM card plan in Morocco. Instead, the “plans” are one-time use cards with a number that you’ll punch into your phone. The cost of the card you purchased will be credited to your data, text, and call plan.

For example, if you bought a 50 MAD card, you’d receive 50 MAD worth of data, text, and calls.

Topping up Morocco SIM cards

If and when your data and expires after you purchase your SIM card, it’s easy to top up your plan.

Grocery stores, kiosks, airports, bus stations, and snack stands all sell little scratch-off phone cards in Morocco. The cost of the cards depends on how much data, text, and calls you plan on making.

Common top up card amounts are 20, 50, 100, and 200 MAD.

Simply scratch off the code on your coupon card and text the code to the number indicated on it.

Be careful—not any old phone card will do. You must purchase a phone card with the same company that you purchased your SIM card with. For example, a Maroc Telecom SIM card needs to be matched with a Maroc Telecom top-up phone card.

Don’t worry, it won’t be hard to find.

The phone card vendors listed above almost always sell all of the biggest SIM card brand names. Hang tight because we’ll be talking about the best SIM card phone companies in Morocco shortly.

Have your passport ready

A copy or photo of your passport is required in order to purchase a SIM card in Morocco. There’s no need bring one in advance; they’ll either make the copy or take the photo there.

I know it can be uncomfortable leaving your passport information in stranger’s hands, but this is common practice for securing SIM cards in many countries.

Some countries even require SIM card holders to be residents of that country, so consider yourself lucky that this isn’t a Moroccan requirement!

Is it worth buying a Moroccan SIM card?

Buying a SIM card in Morocco is absolutely worth it.

Whether you want a phone number for people to reach you at or more reliable WiFi than most public places offer, having a SIM card is an easy and economical option.

Top picks for Morocco SIM cards

Below are the cell phone carriers I recommend for your SIM card, in order of most to least recommended. As I’ll describe in more detail in the next section, all other phone carriers pale in comparison to the first carrier on this list.

  1. Maroc Telecom (IAM)
  2. Orange Morocco
  3. Inwi

Morocco’s Main Internet Carrier

If you’ve done some research on internet reliability in Morocco, you likely already know that Maroc Telecom (acronym IAM) is the most popular provider. 

You’ll see signs for Maroc Telecom everywhere in Morocco. They’re the biggest telecommunications company in the country and, while monopolies are never a good thing, when it comes to data and cell phone service, this equates to the best coverage.

If you’ll be strictly staying in larger cities, Orange Morocco and Inwi will serve you just fine. In this case, I recommend choosing whatever company you can get the best deal through at the time—Maroc Telecom included.

But if you’ll be heading to smaller Moroccan towns and traveling in remote areas, Maroc Telecom will give you the best chance to stay connected.

Note that I said “best,” not gauranteed.

There are still many areas in Morocco where cell phone and WiFi service don’t reach or don’t reach well.

The good news, however, is that with an increasing number of Moroccans relying on WiFi for work and pleasure, Maroc Telecom receives more pressure than in the past to expand and improve its coverage.

Now that we’ve covered SIM cards, let’s take a look at general WiFi reliability and availability in Morocco.

Internet reliability in Morocco

An "Internet is open" sign.
Photo by balleyne is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Before I embarked on my month-long trip to Morocco, I researched a lot trying to get a feel for just how much or little internet access I would have.  Since I work remotely, a strong, reliable WiFi connection is a must for me.

As it turned out, the information I gathered about Morroco’s WiFi reliability wasn’t too promising. Most people agreed that there’s lots of WiFi access in Morocco. But how strong and reliable that access is seemed to vary more than ingredients in a tagine dish.

Determined but concerned, I made notes next to my trip logistics about the quickest direct flight out of Morocco. 

Thankfully, I soon forgot about those notes.  

During my 30 days in Morocco, there was only one day when the WiFi connection went out.  This occurred on my fifth day in Chefchaouen, for about two hours, during my work hours. 

I ran down to the front desk of my riad the moment that the dreaded exclamation point appeared over the WiFi symbol on my laptop.  The riad employee seemed much less concerned about it than I did, and said, “It happens,” with a shrug.  Per his suggestion, I went to seek WiFi at nearby restaurants in the center of town. 

I tried two restaurants—and asked the help of a few people with a Morocco SIM card—without being able to connect to WiFi. But, inexplicably, the third restaurant was the charm.  I spent the rest of my workday there and when I returned to my riad the internet was back and remained that way for the rest of my stay.

Internet strength in Morocco

Okay, you say. So WiFi is pretty widespread in Morocco, but how strong is it? 

That varies. 

The good news is I got through my entire stay in Morocco with being able to use all the programs I needed everywhere I went.

The internet was slowest for me in Marrakech but improved significantly when I moved out of my room in the basement to the center of the riad where the WiFi router was located. And thus, where my SIM card also had access to better signal. 

Which brings me to my next point—WiFi and SIM cards in Morocco are no different than in any other part of the world; the WiFi connection depends on how close you are to the router, how many people are connected to it, and the location of cell towers. 

I stayed at riads booked through Airbnb during most of my trip. Based on talking with other travelers, the WiFi strength at hostels and hotels sounded pretty weak. 

Therefore, if you need strong WiFi in Morocco, it’s best to buy a SIM card and to stay in cities where cell phone service coverage is better.

Wherever you stay and assuming the option is there, make sure to leave a review and mention your experience with the WiFi and/or your SIM card in that location.  People like you and me rely on it!

The “G” Dance

The proximity of cell phone towers is only one aspect of WiFi strength in Morocco. The number of “G’s” your phone and Morocco SIM card can be used with—and the availability of the G strength in any given place—is the other aspect.

“G” stands for generation. In Morocco, there’s 2G, 3G, 4G, and, most recently, 5G service.

The higher the number before the “G”, the faster the WiFi.

But even if your phone is compatible with, say, 5G, if there’s only 3G in the area you’re staying in then 3G WiFi strength is what you’ll receive.

Most large cities in Morocco have widespread 4G coverage, with 5G in certain areas. WiFi strength drops significantly in rural areas, with only 3G or even 2G available—if at all.

Where can I find WiFi in Morocco?

WiFi is readily available in Moroccan cities and large towns.

You can find free WiFi in restaurants, cafes, hotels/hostels, public transportation, and parks, to name a few.

So, if you decide not to purchase a SIM card while in Morocco, you can rest assured that you’ll have options to connect online. It’s just that those options might be slower and spottier than if you had purchased a SIM card.

What to do if you’re staying at a place in Morocco with poor wifi connection

Internet in Morocco is spotty in countryside destinations like this one.

So, you’ve decided to book that hostel with poor WiFi reviews?  No worries!  More likely than not you’ll have access to WiFi elsewhere. 

It is common to see restaurants and cafes boasting the words “WiFi” next to their mouthwatering tagine and couscous specials. 

Are you absorbed in the labyrinth of Fes’ old town? You may need to take a seat before I tell you this—Starbucks is only a 10-minute drive away, seated in Fes’ new town. 

This is common for many of Morocco’s old towns. More modern “new” towns are usually built around them, a short drive away, where there’s (usually) better WiFi access.

To Dongle or to Modem or to Not?

Purchasing a SIM card in Morocco is an excellent option for single travelers to stay connected to WiFi and make calls. However, there’s also the option to purchase a dongle, which is a USB device that feeds WiFi directly to your laptop.

You can also buy a wireless modem hotspot, which is an ideal situation if more than one person wants to connect to WiFi at the same time while you’re in Morocco.

The disadvantage of dongle and modems are that you won’t be able to receive and send texts and calls with your phone. However, with online services like Whatsapp and Skype, you may be able to get by without traditional cell phone texts and calls.

You can purchase dongles and modems at cell phone stores. In larger cities, Maroc Telecom seems like it has a store on nearly every street corner.

I seriously considered buying a dongle in Morocco when I arrived.  I was ready to haggle for the best price but willing to settle for any, all for the sake of minimizing my risk of not having an internet connection. 

I’m glad I didn’t end up buying one since the short period when I scrambled to find internet in Chefchaouen wouldn’t have been worth it.  With that said, everyone’s internet needs are different. 

A Note on Skype & WhatsApp in Morocco

As you know by now, Skype and WhatsApp work in Morocco.  However, back in 2016, the Moroccan government blocked Skype, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Viber from being used. 

The reasoning behind the blocking of these free voice communication companies was that they didn’t have the proper licensing. This blockage was short-lived, thanks to these companies stepping in and complaints from Moroccans.

My experience with using online call and video services in Morocco was that they worked fairly well to decently well. 

The connection was rarely crystal clear, but it was never so bad that I couldn’t communicate.  Oftentimes, it would take a while for my call to connect through to the person I was calling—sometimes for over a minute. 

Likewise, when someone called me, there was often a delay between when I picked up and when the person could hear me.  

But overall, these were minor hindrances in the grand scheme of things since they gave me the opportunity to experience Morocco while working remotely.

Conclusion

Morocco is a lot more developed internet-wise than a lot of information online gives it credit for.  Unless you plan on spending your entire time on a sand dune miles from the nearest town in the desert, you can pretty much bet that you will have access to the internet.     

What have been your experiences using WiFi in Morocco?  Your comments are valuable to us all—please be sure to state the places you visited, when you visited, and the provider you used, among any other details you’d like to share.

Psst! Have you checked to see if your travel dates fall during Ramadan? Check out my post on everything you need to know about Ramadan in Morocco.