My experience with Win by Inwi

In my previous post, I mentioned how I was using a data plan that amounts to 10 DH per gigabyte. Being a relatively light streamer, I can usually get by with 10 gigabytes per month. These days however, I often find myself abusing my data plan for calls and screen sharing and whatnot. This month for example, I spent 250 DH on internet alone. With a monthly spending like that, I realized that I might as well get ADSL or a cheap optical fiber subscription.

So why didn't I ? Well, for one, I don't want to get tied down by a monthly subscription. Secondly, I don't want something that requires a heavy installation with all the fees and the time that it implies. And finally, I want to have the option of carrying it with me wherever I want.

When I was searching for alternatives, a friend of mine suggested Win by Inwi. I looked into it and it seemed to satisfy my needs of portability and ease of use. In short, you can customize your plan as you wish, handle the paperwork online and once all that is taken care of, they mail you a SIM card for you to use as you wish. Tl;dr in the bottom.

Long story

So I did just that. I picked a plan that would give me 50 gigabytes per month for 119 DH and paid for it online with my bank card. They then asked me to upload my ID, so I scanned it and uploaded it without much hassle. A few days later, I received an SMS from Amana telling me that the mailman would drop by later that day. At around 3 PM, the mailman called and I helped him locate my address. After he found it, he confirmed my identity and then handed me an envelope. Here are its contents :

I went over to my account and activated the SIM card. This is a mandatory step. Note that it should only be done after you receive your card because that's when the billing cycle begins. I plugged the card into my laptop and noticed that the network was detected, but I wasn't able to connect. At first, I suspected that my laptop's modem wasn't compatible with Inwi, so I tried it with other devices. But the problem was still there.

After fruitlessly fiddling around with the APN settings, I decided to start looking online for pointers. I checked my account and was surprised to see that it still said "validation in progress". I read the FAQ repeatedly but to no avail. I spoke with the chatbot, but the poor thing only relayed what was already explained in the FAQ, with the added hassle of having to navigate the FAQ in a menu that is reminiscent of how NPCs interact in old RPGs.

A few clicks here and there and the bot suggests that I speak to a real person. I jump on the opportunity before it changes its mind, and am immediately placed in a queue of socially distanced 26 people. 26 people later, I'm greeted by someone called El Mehdi. I explain my situation and he asks for my email address. He asks if I activated my SIM card and I confirm. He then explains that there was a problem with something called "injection de solde", and that he notified the person in charge to handle it ASAP. I thanked him and we left it at that.

The next morning, I try again and this time, I successfully connect to the internet.

Daytime speed test with my 3G module

Nighttime speed test with my 3G module

The SIM card is compatible with my Thinkpad X220, but I wanted to use it with a laptop that didn't have a 3G module. I tried plugging it into a Maroc Telecom modem that my cousin gave me, but it wouldn't accept it. I did some googling and apparently, the modem was locked by Maroc Telecom to make it incompatible with the SIM cards of other ISPs. I came across this tool, a Python script that unlocks Huawei modems. I tried running it but it required certain dependencies and I didn't have pip installed for Python 2, so I converted it to Python 3 with 2to3 and added a few modifications until it worked (fork here)

. Once unlocked, it worked like a charm.

Random fun facts :

  • The Win.ma website is made in VueJS and NuxtJS
  • win upside down is vim
  • Their loading spinner is entertaining

Imui hq Vim

Tl;dr

Timeline :

  • Tuesday 21st April 2020 : opened an account at win.ma
  • Wednesday 22nd April 2020 : paid for the subscription and uploaded my CIN
  • Monday 27th April 2020 : received my SIM card and activated it
  • Tuesday 28th April 2020 : connected to the internet

Pros :

  • Everything can be done online
  • Competitive prices
  • Can be customized
  • Great customer support (they even replied in a Ramadan evening)

Cons :

  • Activation delay. Note that it only happened to me though, I didn't find any other people who had this problem before

All in all, it was a positive experience. I'll update a month from now with what my experience will have been by then.

Update of July 2nd, 2020 : the internet connection has been stable, nothing to report.

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