Moroccan telecoms operator Medi Telecom (Meditel), an affiliate of Paris-based Orange Group, has launched free 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) services in Casablanca, following the award of its 4G concession in March 2015, Morocco World News reports. In order to use the 4G broadband service, potential subscribers need to acquire a new SIM card for MAD30 (USD3.07) and have a compatible device (smartphone, tablet, modem or router). Going forward, the LTE network is scheduled to be launched in Rabat on 15 June, with other major cities to follow by the end of summer. Meanwhile, Meditel’s rivals Itissalat Al Maghrib (IAM, Maroc Telecom) and Inwi (Wana) are also planning to introduce their respective 4G services ‘soon’.
As previously reported by CommsUpdate, in mid-March 2015 the Agence Nationale de Reglementation de Telecom (ANRT) awarded three 20-year LTE licences to the country’s mobile operators. Maroc Telecom, majority owned by United Arab Emirates (UAE)-based Etisalat, paid MAD1 billion for frequencies in the 800MHz (to be allocated in two stages), 1800MHz and 2.6GHz bands, Meditel paid MAD500.437 million, while Wana paid MAD503.000 million. The operators are required to establish and operate 4G networks covering 65% of the Moroccan population within five years from the date of licence authorisations, and must provide minimum average download speed of 2Mbps for 90% of the population.