Morocco: Meteoric growth of data catches operators by surprise
5 July 2019
The meteoric growth of data consumption has caught the operators by surprise. In a few years, the mobile internet market has significantly increased and now exceeds 21 million users. The evolution of consumer habits and the digitalisation of the economy point to great prospects for telecom operators, provided that they continue to invest and improve the quality of service.
Five years ago, a World Bank report criticized the high cost and inaccessibility of broadband internet (fixed and mobile) in Morocco. The situation was similar in other countries in the MENA region. In particular, it called for more competition in the telecom sector in order to pull prices down. Since its diagnosis, the situation has changed. Although the market is still concentrated around three operators, there is fierce competition even on the mobile Internet. An analysis of the average cost of mobile internet in the world (6,313 packages in 230 countries) by the Cable.co.uk site identifies Morocco as one of the cheapest countries, in third place behind India and Russia.
1 gigabyte of mobile data is billed on average at 1.48 euro in Morocco against 0.23 euro in India and 0.81 euro in Russia. Italy (1.54 euro), Australia (2.20 euro), France (2.66 euro), Spain (3.37 euro), the United Kingdom (5.93 euro), Germany (6.20 euros) and China (8.81 euros) follow in the ranking. In North America, it takes more than 10 euros for 1 GB of data. The bill is heavier in Belgium and Switzerland, but remains relatively moderate compared to what must be paid by Zimbabweans. The price of the gigabyte is the most expensive with 66.88 euros. It is 45 times higher than in Morocco.
Hit by the success of VoiP applications and the fall in revenue from outgoing calls and SMS, telecom operators are adapting and see the evolution of consumer habits and the digitalization of the economy of opportunities to ensure the growth of their activities. At Maroc Telecom, the most talkative operator because of its stock market listing, the average monthly income per customer has deteriorated much in recent years because of competition on data prices
In just a few years, the mobile internet market of the three operators has significantly increased and exceeds 21 million users. The operators who will benefit from the change are those who will continue to invest in networks and quality of service.