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A friend is planning a Morocco trip next spring—6 weeks, I'm envious—and would like to have mobile phone service. She doesn't have a cellphone; the friend she's traveling with does, so any advice both about getting a local SIM, and buying a cheap phone with SIM would be appreciated. I took a quick look at http://prepaidgsm.net and found that there are three operators listed, but I have no way of knowing which to recommend or beware!

 

Any help gratefully appreciated...

The best part of every trip is realizing that it has upset your expectations

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While I haven't been to Morocco for over 2 years, phone service for locals in non-industrialized nations all over the world tends to be cheap phone, available locally, with prepaid sim cards that you reload.  It depends a great deal on what services your friend wants and can they, for instance, do without data and use the wifi in their accommodations or will they go to pieces without having it all, all the time.  If that's the case, I can't help and will be expensive, all things relative, I suspect.

 

My cheap unlocked phone was purchased years ago in India and works just fine for all my travels, everywhere in the world (except in N. America and on ships).  My advice would be to email their first accommodation and ask about availability of inexpensive phones and sim cards.  I already had my phone and a friend in Fes picked up a sim card for me from a corner store.

 

Rentals will likely be the most expensive option.  Buying a phone and sim before they leave will also be pricier than waiting until they arrive in Morocco.

Last edited by PortMoresby

One more thought.  Think long term.  If you're likely to travel again and might need a phone again, buying one will be even more cost effective.  And buying one after you arrive will be least expensive.  Phone service in the US is notoriously expensive.  

 

People in developing countries all have mobile phones because of the lack of infrastructure for land lines.  So low-income working people all over the world rely on cell service and it must be cheap.  So doing as the locals do when you travel beyond western countries is just the sensible thing to do.  With phone service as in other things.

Last edited by PortMoresby

If you take a look at http://prepaidgsm.net, you’ll see the reason for PortMoresby’s recommendation. It’s not the cost of the phone, it’s the cost of every minute, often many times that of a local SIM.

 

For example, the Mobal SIM comes with a rate for Morocco of $1.50 a minute outgoing and $1.50 a minute incoming. Meditel, one of the Moroccan carriers, charges (depending on plan) about 10c a minute up to 40c a minute, and no charge for incoming. Mobal will sell you data at $28.99 for ONE megabyte; Meditel will sell you a month of unlimited for under $25.

DO NOT ever think of dealing with one of these international phone rental companies; they are strictly for corporations that don’t care what they pay.

Oh, and another thing: your number from Mobal will be a UK number. If the friend also has a Mobal phone, calls between them will be $1.95 minute, not the $1.50 rate for local calls. And any Moroccan phone that calls the Mobal phone will be charged for a long-distance call to Britain.

Last edited by PHeymont

I have a Mobell (same company as Mobal) UK sim that I got years ago, very convenient, phone bills charged to my credit card, rather than having to keep track of the balance and "top up".  However, calls are relatively expensive although I don't mind for the convenience and limited use when I'm in the UK.  Knowing full well it would cost me, about a £ a minute because I was in Italy, I allowed a British friend who was meeting me in Italy to call me when she arrived using her UK phone and my UK sim.  I don't recommend it for more than a call or 2.

 

If usage will be very limited, it hardly matters.  But if your friend wants to feel free to make calls regularly, they should consider doing it as locals do, as I described above and get phone & sim after arrival.  

 

I love having my phone that I know I can use cheaply wherever I go.  It's also a souvenir of my time in India.  Theirs would be a very useful keepsake from their time in Morocco. I'm all in favor of useful souvenirs.  Phones and kitchen gadgets.

Last edited by PortMoresby

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