By Rachid Jankari
Morocco’s IT sector is growing at a double-digit pace. Internet access has expanded by three-quarters in 2011, while the mobile phone market increased by more than 14%, according to the National Telecoms Regulation Agency (ANRT).
The rapid expansion “necessitates a proportional investment in content and services to satisfy the growing demand” of internet and mobile phone users, according to Mobiblanc CEO Mohamed Benboubker.
The kingdom boasts a total of 36.5 million mobile phone subscribers, representing a penetration rate of just over 113%. The market, however, is still dominated by pre-paid packages. There are only 1.5 million subscribers for post-paid deals, according to the ANRT.
The Internet sector has expanded thanks to the growth of 3G. Out of 3 million internet subscribers, more than 2.5 million have 3G access. Meanwhile, high-speed connection accounts for just 18% of the market.
The trend is taking a toll on the landline market, which shrank by 4.8% last year.
Another telling sign of the market’s development is e-commerce. There are now over 200 online retail sites affiliated with the Maroc Telecommerce platform. Internet users can purchase groceries, clothes, books, mobile phone credit, electronics, insurance and many other products and services without leaving home.
According to the Centre for Interbank Payment Systems (CMI), Moroccan e-commerce turnover rose to over 513 million dirhams last year, a 72% increase from 2010.
More and more people opt for using credit cards. More than 6.7 million cards are held by Moroccans, which represents a 10% increase from 2010.
This year, Maroc Telecommerce is set to launch a new multi-channel payment platform.
“Known as Fatourati, this platform will give private and public-sector companies optimised access to a dozen or so channels (ATMs, mobile, branches and the internet) and methods of payment (cash, card, transfers and debiting, m-payment) operated by a number of financial institutions,” said Maroc Telecommerce Development Director Samira Gourrom.
Finally, another area that witnessed an upward trend is bandwidth consumption. It grew by almost 66% within one year.
Industry insiders predict that 2012 will see continued double-digit growth, in particular due to competition between the three telecoms operators and the ANRT forecasts.