Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Wifi in Morocco - lowest cost in the Arab World

A recent report from Arab Advisors Group places Morocco at the top of all the Arab countries as the country where the price of ADSL is the lowest. But, as visitors to Morocco will discover, there are also many free Wifi hotspots  

The Arab Advisors Group study is based on the rates offered in July 2015 for a minimum 4 Mbps connection.

The annual cost of ADSL in Morocco is a little over 1000 dirhams ($145 Australian dollars, $104 USD) compared to Sudan at the other end of the scale where prices exceed the 20,000 dirhams per year ($2,900 AUD, 2,081 USD).

The study analysed data from 19 Arab countries - Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, UAE Arab Emirates and Yemen.

Recent Free Wifi Tests

The M'dina Bus, in Casablanca has run a three week test period for its Wi-Fi bus service. The test started on Monday, August 3, on three lines (7, 23 and 25).

Tests earlier in the year failed and it is hoped that problems will be sorted with the advent of 4G. The first test phase was inconclusive with slow connection speed being the major problem.

"Now with 4G coverage browsing speed is more interesting" says Moulay Youssef El Idrissi Ouedghri, director of Human Resources at the M'dina Bus. The experience should be extended to other bus routes in the coming month.

Besides the M'dina Bus Company some public areas in Casablanca are equipped with free Wi-Fi connections.

Many of the Moroccan Railway stations now offer free Wifi, but it is not always operational. Testing it in Fez, we found there were some days when, although there was a Wifi signal there was no connectivity to the Internet.

Most reliable are the new Casa Port train station in Casablanca and the two main Rabat stations.

The Mohammed V airport in Casablanca has had Wi-Fi and unlimited broadband since June 15. Connection is free from computer, tablet or smart phone. When tested a number of times by The View From Fez  it was not always functioning

According to the National Office of Airports it is intended that the free service be extended to airports in Marrakech, Rabat, Tangier Fez, Agadir and Oujda.

Royal Air Maroc flights will soon introduce an in-flight connectivity system which will enable onboard Wi-Fi services. Royal Air Maroc says its entire fleet will be equipped with a Wi-Fi service by the beginning of 2016.

In April Casablanca announced the launch of a free Wi-Fi in several public areas. In addition to the Casa Port train station, the service is supposed to be already operational in some pilot areas such as the park of the Arab League and the Nevada site, Hassan II University, Place Mohammed V, the esplanade of the Hassan II Mosque, the Rue du Prince Moulay Abdallah, Derb Ghalef and Maarif Twin Centre.

In Fez there are now a good number of cafes or restaurants in the Medina offering free Wifi.

Operated by Maroc Telecom. Internet services started as a test in November 2002 before it was launched in October 2003 and it is now one of the most technologically advanced Internet services on the African continent.

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