Prices correct at time of publishing – Nov2019
This post is not just relevant for Morocco but any travel, anywhere, in any transport allowing you to keep in touch and at minimal cost to you.
Passports in hand (or at least, discretely shoved in a pocket) we set off for the Maroc Telecom shop to purchase a SIM card for one of our mobiles. £6 per day on Vodafone’s Roam Further destinations to have access to our full plan is far too hefty a price to pay for comms for our full stay here, so we leave that to use only in an emergency – like our first day on arrival. We chose Maroc Telecom because they are a tier 1 provider (like Vodafone or O2 in the UK) and have consistent and, as far as our research tells us, the best coverage in Morocco.
A Maroc Telecom 30-day SIM is valid for 6 months and costs MAD20 (€2) which is allocated to your SIM as credit for calls & texts and you can use this SIM as a hotspot.
We topped that up immediately with 10Gb data bought for MAD100 (€10) which is valid for 30 days.
We also bought a Pay As You Go Data-only SIM for MAD59.95 (€6) pre-charged with 4Gb data (no hotspot capability). The data is only valid for 10 days but this SIM can also be re-charged the same as above, also valid for 6 months. We bought this SIM for our tracker as we need a SIM that has 2G capability.
If you download the Maroc app from Google Play Store, you can register an account and top up and see your balance online although you will need a smattering of French to follow the instructions. Or you can log into Maroc Telecom accounts online using a browser from a laptop on https://www.iam.ma again, a little understanding of French will be required. Or you can buy a voucher in a Maroc Telecom store and top up there.
For each of the SIMs we created an email address so that we could login individually into Maroc Telecom to manage them.
| 3/12/2019 Update** |
We have since tried to update using the app or through a web browser with a debit and credit card but failed miserably. However, all is not lost! We discovered (with a bit of digging) a website called www.recharge.com (4.5/5.0 on Trustpilot) which we used successfully with PayPal to pay for more data to be added. It worked perfectly and credited our SIM instantly. They charge a service fee of $0.99 to do the transaction for you but when you can’t find a shop, this is a small price to pay and one we’ve done happily.
This does get a bit technical from here but I just wanted to briefly try to describe how you would be able to manage issues with communications when you’re away from home or business or to try and reduce costs when roaming outside of European mobile agreement areas.
One of the issues we were a bit worried about was clients being able to get hold of us. We also needed to ensure that calls to our mobiles come through to us seamlessly where-ever we are in the world and at no additional cost to us. With the Europe reciprocal mobile agreements, using mobile phones in Europe is no longer an issue with costs but anywhere outside of Europe is a problem.
So we set up VOIP (Voice Over IP or digital lines that use data via an Internet connection) landlines. There are several online companies that offer landline (VOIP) telephone numbers with all different benefits and costs. Drop me a Contact Us email and I’d be happy to share who we use. I don’t want to be including the information here as we are not selling this nor wanting to advertise.
We found one that suited us, that gave us
- a landline number with the same area code for our business,
- that is free to receive calls,
- that we top up as and when we need to make calls (mostly 1p per minute),
- that can be diverted to voicemail that then gets recorded and emailed to you so no calls are missed,
- But the most important benefit was that we could register it to our home or business address. Once this is done, you can make emergency calls from this number. The benefit of this, is that while you are away from home, if your home/business burglar alarm is activated, if you ring from your VOIP number, the call goes through to the police response closest to your home/business.
Once your VOIP line is set up, you install a VOIP app on your mobile and register the account on it.
There are 2 ways to use this VOIP landline:
You can divert all calls to it before leaving the UK, which because it is a local number, costs nothing. This means that all calls despite it being to your mobile, rings through to your VOIP number with a UK ring tone for the caller and not the usual European ringtone.
Or you can continue to receive calls to your mobile whilst in Europe but before leaving Spain to enter Morocco (or anywhere else outside of Europe), divert all calls to your VOIP number. Because the VOIP app uses data, this means that all calls will be received where-ever you are in the world to your mobile at no cost and you can make outgoing calls (if you have credit) at very little cost to you.