A Helpful Guide to Buying a SIM Card in Dubai
Dubai continues to attract foreigners who are wishing to experience the vibrant lifestyle whilst on a holiday, find a job or open a business here. While coming to the UAE, expats and tourists often wonder about getting a SIM card so that they have an opportunity to make calls, use social networking sites and have access to maps without the need to connect to Wi-Fi.
There is nothing difficult about purchasing a SIM card in the UAE to stay connected with your close ones. We have prepared a helpful guide which contains information about purchasing a SIM Card in Dubai and the phone operator that is most suitable for you from du, Etisalat and Virgin Mobile.
Du SIM Cards for Tourists
Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company, rebranded as du, was launched in the UAE in 2007 and offers mobile telephony, fixed line, internet, and digital television services across the country.
Tourists coming to Dubai might be interested in getting a Tourist du SIM. The easiest way to get the SIM card is to collect it at the Dubai airport immigration counters for free. A welcome bonus of 1 GB which will be available for 24 hours once the SIM is activated. If you prefer using an eSIM, after receiving a physical SIM at the airport, visit the du store and they can transfer it to an eSIM.
You don’t need to activate the free Tourist SIM on arrival, as it already has information about your passport details. However, in order to use the line, you will need to follow several steps, such as inserting the SIM card into your phone and receiving a verification SMS from 1220, which will ask you to send your year of birth. After that you will get 1 GB of local data for free for 24 hours and an activation SMS. Dial 135, choose the language and start enjoying the services.
After 24 hours the local data will no longer be valid. You will be able to recharge the SIM card with one of the attractive tourist offers. For instance, a package with 2 GB of data and 30 national and international minutes for 28 days will cost you AED 49 (USD 13), while a package with 30 minutes + unlimited voice and video internet calls and 20 GB of data for 28 days will cost AED 189 (USD 52). If you want unlimited internet, you might be interested in a package for 10 days with a cost of AED 299 (USD 81).
The free SIM card is valid as long as your visa is valid, a maximum of 90 days or until you leave the country. You cannot transfer the Tourist SIM to another plan or operator.
If you didn’t receive a SIM card at passport control, you have a chance to purchase one at any du store. This will cost you AED 10 (USD 3) if you buy the SIM alone or free of charge if you choose a bundle with a cost from AED 49 (USD 13). If you lose your SIM, you have a chance to restore it at any du store.
Du SIM Packages
If you are looking for unlimited national data and minutes, you might be interested in Power Plan Unlimited National Data 1000, offering unlimited national data without any limits in speed, unlimited Flexi minutes and unlimited free data in WiFi UAE for AED 1,000 (USD 272) per month, or Power Plan 300 Data with unlimited national data at a maximum speed up to 10 mbps, 1,600 national minutes, an extra 400 national minutes for 4 months and unlimited free data in WiFi UAE for AED 300 (USD 82).
You can also build your own prepaid plan. If you pay for 12 months in advance, you will get a discount. For instance, a package of 5 GB + 5 GB, 30 Flexi minutes, unlimited calls to 1 du number and free internet calling will cost you AED 903 (USD 246) per year (AED 75 per month). If you pay for this plan on a monthly basis, it will cost you 50% more and amount to AED 139 (USD 38).
Note: Users of the Emirati mobile providers can change operators and choose the plans corresponding to their needs. If you wish to move your number to another company, read the information about changing on their official websites or visit outlets for a consultation.
Etisalat SIM Cards for Tourists
Etisalat by e& is a multinational telecommunications services provider which is based in the UAE, operates in 16 countries and is the 18th largest mobile network operator in number of subscribers.
Etisalat’s Visitor Line is the perfect option for those coming to Dubai for a business trip, a holiday, visiting a family, or for those who are in search of a job. You will be able to purchase a package as soon as you land at the airport. Thus, a prepaid Visitor Line + package offering 4 GB, 30 Flexi minutes and a SIM card itself will cost you AED 79 (USD 21) for 28 days. Visitor Line Premium for 28 days comes with 8 GB, 120 Flexi minutes, 5 WiFi hours and a new SIM card for AED 125 (USD 34). If you want unlimited internet access, Visitor Line Unlimited Local Data for 10 days with 100 Flexi minutes might interest you, and costs AED 319 (USD 87).
The package can be re-purchased at the same price. A maximum of 2 Visitor Line SIMs are eligible per passport. The validity of the Visitor Line depends on your visa, and in case you plan to stay in the UAE and wish to continue using an Etisalat SIM card, you should visit one of Etisalat outlets, present your Emirates ID and choose Wasel Prepaid, Pay-as-You-Go line, or Postpaid package.
Etisalat SIM Packages
Etisalat offers a wide range of prepaid and postpaid plans. Among the most well-known postpaid packages at the moment are the following options. For AED 125 (USD 34) you will get Plan 125 which gives 4 GB, 100 Flexi local and international minutes and 100 USE WiFi hours. Plan 260, offering 20 GB local data, 250 MB roaming data, 600 Flexi local and international minutes, unlimited calls to one preferred number and much more. In accordance with its name, Plan 260 will cost you AED 260 (USD 71) per month. Those looking for unlimited internet, might be interested in Non-Stop Data Plan 250, offering unlimited local data, 200 MB roaming data, 500 Flexi local and international minutes and more for AED 250 (USD 68) per month.
If you are wanting to save money, you can choose one of the prepaid plans with double data on all plans, choosing the number of GB and minutes you need for your basic needs. With Wasel Flexi Year Plans you will save 50%, get unlimited calling minutes to one preferred Etisalat number, unlimited data with exclusive Chat & Music plans, unlimited data for GoChat Messenger on select plans and much more from AED 50 (USD 14) per month.
Note: Citizens of the UAE can benefit from postpaid plans made exclusively for Emiratis such as Emirati Freedom and Emirati Wasel. Among the key advantages are unlimited local and international calls on selected plans, an option to upgrade your mobile or pay your bill with free Smiles welcome points, a chance to get free special Metallic numbers, priority treatment at Etisalat stores and more.
Virgin Mobile SIM Cards for Tourists
Virgin Mobile UAE is a telecommunication company which operates in the country, is part of Virgin Mobile brand and offers prepaid and postpaid plans. If you are coming to the UAE soon, you might want to learn more about the Virgin Mobile Tourist SIM which offers local and international minutes, as well as all the data for 7, 10 or 15 days.
The SIM card can be picked up as soon as you land at the airport. The tourist plan is one-time, meaning that the customer won’t be able to renew it. Moreover, it’s impossible to use the plan with the help of the Emirates ID, as only a passport or GCC ID are applicable.
Thus, a package for 7 days with 21 GB will cost you AED 150 (USD 41), the price of a package for 10 days with 40 GB is AED 200 (USD 55), while the option with 75 GB and free internet calling will cost you AED 300 (USD 82). All these packages also offer 30 local minutes / SMS.
Virgin Mobile SIM Packages
If you are not sure which package to choose from, you can try the starter plans. For AED 35 (USD 10) you will get 0.50 GB + 0.25 GB and 25 local minutes / SMS, while a package with 0.75 GB + 0.75 GB and 50 local minutes / SMS will cost you AED 50 (USD 14).
You can create a plan based on your needs and add as many minutes and GB data, as you wish. If you need more, you will get an opportunity to easily upgrade your plan anytime using the application. For instance, a package with unlimited internet and 50 local minutes / SMS will cost you AED 6,000 (USD 1,630) instead of AED 12,000 (USD 3,270) if you pay for 12 months in advance, while those who pay monthly will need to spend AED 1,000 (USD 272) for the same conditions.
A monthly plan can be paused wherever you want and for the period you want. As for 6 and 12-month plans, they can be resumed only in the last month of use.
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