Wednesday 25 May 2022

Fantastic 4G Experience in Morocco is Setting Stage for 5G

Morocco’s mobile market is one of the more mature in the region, with a penetration rate of 137.5 percent.  The three mobile network operators – Maroc Telecom, Orange, and Inwi, offer fixed-line and fixed-wireless services. They have developed mobile data services based on the extensive reach of LTE infrastructure.  Growth in mobile data traffic is supported by the popular use of smartphones, which account for about 80 percent of all mobile phones in use.

The three mobile operators are the main providers of internet services, accounting for the great majority of all internet connections.  The issuing of LTE licenses in 2015 included conditions to ensure that services covered at least 65 percent of the population by 2020, while the promotion of broadband accessibility nationally is also supported by the National Broadband Plan through 2022 and by the Maroc Digital 2020 strategy.  The extensive deployment of mobile broadband infrastructure will further consolidate the dominance of mobile players in the broadband sector in the coming years. 

To establish itself as a leading hub in the field of digital technologies on the African continent, Morocco is encouraging foreign direct investment in the telecommunications sector, especially as it seeks to accelerate its whole-of-society digital transformation, promote new technologies, and develop telecommunications services.  All three telecom operators have successfully completed their pilot tests for 5G and stand ready to deploy their own 5G networks in Morocco. 

The three major telecoms operators are preparing for their transition to 5G, expected in 2023. For the next two years, they intend to invest in strengthening the coverage of mobile networks, the national backbones of telecommunications and infrastructure. Maroc Telecom had announced that it will invest $1 billion between 2019 and 2021.  Morocco’s telecom service providers consider data management and security when reviewing proposals for equipment and services. The 5G market offers good opportunities for U.S. technology companies.

In the latest Open Signal report, Maroc Telecom once again wins the lion's share of the awards, successfully defending its six outright wins from the previous report. In addition, this time around, Maroc Telecom also ties with inwi in 4G Availability. Meanwhile, Orange did not secure any win across the seven award categories.

In this report, the mobile network experience of users on the three nationwide mobile operators  Maroc Telecom, inwi and Orange is examined over a period of 90 days beginning on November 1, 2021, and ending on January 29, 2022, to see how they fared.

Maroc Telecom, a.k.a. IAM is the biggest mobile provider, mostly owned by UAE-based Etisalat, with the best coverage. In 2015 they have started with 4G/LTE with speeds up to 225 Mbps in major to minor towns that is available for prepaid without surcharges.

Mobile subscribers for Maroc telecom grew by 2.8% to 19.86 million in the first quarter of 2022, compared to the same period the year before. However, mobile revenues in the country fell by 5.1% over the same period. The average revenue per mobile customer in the first quarter of 2022, totaled MAD 44.9 per month ($4.59 per month). This is a decline of 7.9% from the first quarter of 2021.

Orange is the second provider in the country and mostly owned by Orange in France (formerly called France Télécom). That's why it was decided to rebrand it from the original brand of Méditel to Orange starting in 2016.

Inwi is the smallest provider in Morocco but with good coverage, if you stick to the towns mainly. Make a network scan, if you want to use it at a particular place. 4G/LTE has started in 2015 in 26 cities.

However it claims to be the fastest growing wireless provider in Morocco at the moment. Headquartered in Casablanca, its nationwide mobile/fixed network serves more than 12.5 million users with a mix of 2G/3G/4G and fixed wireless access (FWA) services. Since its founding in 1999, inwi has earned a reputation as a technology and innovation pioneer. Since 2017, the carrier has been rated the number one Internet provider by nPerf. Significant investment in fixed wireless service and a optimised TDD radio deployment have established inwi as the innovator of Internet and data services. Most recently, it became the country’s first to deploy an innovative 28-port, all-in-one antenna from CommScope, streamlining its network and paving the way for 5G.

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