When you arrive in Dubai, the first nuisance that you will have to face concerns the possibility of using your smartphone. Surfing the internet with your national SIM card you risk spending a lot of money in a few minutes. The same can be said for calls: international roaming costs in the UAE are very high!
The best thing to do is to use a local SIM Card, in this way you can use your smartphone, maps, call home and even make calls in the UAE (to reserve restaurants, tours or just in case of emergencies, especially if you plan to rent a car) without spending a fortune: with a fixed and affordable price you can use the internet (and social networks) and call without risk and without problems.
When you arrive at the airport you can choose between different types of Dubai SIM Card for Tourists, in this guide I will help you find your way among the best SIM Cards and choose the most reliable and cheapest one.
Dubai SIM Card for Tourists: All You Need to Know
Dubai and the UAE have an excellent telecommunications network, although tariff plans for smartphones are generally quite expensive. Furthermore, many foreign SIM cards do not work here, or the costs of calls and the internet can be exorbitant.
For this reason, most tourists arriving in Dubai choose to buy a UAE SIM Card, which allows significant savings, even over 90% compared to international roaming rates.
At the airport there are desks that sell Dubai SIM Cards for Tourists, they are specifically designed for travelers who stay for a maximum of 30 days (which can be easily extended) and want to use the internet and call without worries.
Dubai SIM Card: Which mobile operator to choose?
In the UAE there are only two mobile internet operators: Du and Etisalat. It’s practically a monopoly, so the rates are pretty high. However, the coverage is quite good, both operators offer excellent coverage of all major cities and roads.
The quality of the internet connection is very good: 4G high-speed connection is available in most of the UAE, 5G is also available in some areas of Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
Etisalat offers better coverage in the most remote areas of the country, Du is more popular with tourists, due to better rates and a better service reputation.
At Dubai International Airport you will also find another mobile operator: Virgin Mobile, which operates on the Du network, but which I have not yet had the opportunity to try. However, their prices did not seem so advantageous to me.
The difference between Etisalat and Du is mainly the price and how many GB and minutes they offer. So, let’s see what is the most advantageous offer at the moment for a Dubai SIM Card for Tourists.
Dubai SIM Card Prices for Tourists
The SIM Cards for Tourists that you can buy at Dubai Airport (and which work in all UAE) usually offer enough GB and minutes at a much more affordable price than that of a regular SIM Card.
The two companies, Du and Etisalat, have similar prices and reliable service, because they are both partially owned by the government.
ETISALAT Dubai SIM Card Prices for Tourists
Etisalat offers a mobile plan dedicated to tourists called Visitor Line, which has two options: Visitor Line and Visitor Line Plus.
|Etisalat Visitor Line
|Etisalat Visitor Line Plus
The Etisalat SIM Card for Tourists is free, you only pay to activate the Visitor Line mobile plan which is valid for 14 days and allows you to call in the UAE and to over 100 countries in the world.
DU Dubai SIM Card Prices for Tourists
Du offers a free SIM Card and allows you to choose between three different mobile plans that include national and international calls and internet data.
The DU SIM Card for Tourists is designed for all those tourists who do not need a large quota of minutes for calls. Flexi Minutes means that you can freely call both UAE national numbers and international numbers from over 100 countries worldwide.
PRO TIP: Buy it online to get more data and calls and a better price
The smart choice is to buy it online in advance: in this way you can choose from tariff plans available exclusively online, which allows you to get more by paying less.
These mobile plans are currently the most convenient, especially the Mega Pack and the Pro Pack allow you to fill up on internet data and calls, at the best price you can find in the UAE.
Furthermore, by purchasing the SIM Card for Tourists online, its validity is 30 days and can be extended very easily, with an SMS or a visit to one of the DU stores in Dubai or Abu Dhabi.
After purchasing your SIM card for tourists online, you can easily and quickly collect it directly at Dubai International Airport, in the Bookmywifi shop, which you will easily find in the arrivals area of terminals 1 and 3, without having to queue.
Best UAE SIM Card for Tourists
The best solution for tourists arriving at Dubai International Airport is the SIM Card offered by Du.
The pack that can be purchased online includes enough minutes and internet data to meet the most common needs of tourists and the price is definitely the cheapest.
Purchase a SIM Card at Dubai International Airport (DXB)
Most tourists and business travelers buy a UAE Sim Card as soon as they arrive in Dubai, because it is the most convenient and easy solution. However Du, Etisalat and Virgin Mobile also have stores in the major shopping centers of Dubai and Abu Dhabi, but sometimes some offers are not available there.
Shops of the mobile operators Du and Etisalat are located in the arrivals areas of all the terminals of Dubai International Airport. Often, especially in Terminal 1, the queues to activate a SIM Card are quite long. Prices are exactly the same in all terminals.
Some Duty Free Shops also sell SIM Cards, however I recommend you buy it online (from authorized stores) or directly in the official shops.
To activate a UAE SIM Card for Tourists you must bring your passport with you (a valid visa is also required). According to local law, only one SIM card can be registered per person and you must be at least 18 years old.
Free SIM Card Dubai Airport
From 2019 tourists arriving at Dubai Airport, who have a valid visa and are at least 18 years old, can receive a free Sim Card offered by the mobile operator Du. But don’t get too excited!
This free SIM Card only comes with just 20 MB of internet data and 3 minutes of calls. So you need to top this Dubai SIM Card with credit (at the same prices we just saw) otherwise you won’t get anywhere.
Dubai SIM Card Discount Prices and Offers
You can save up to 30% with the bundles that allow you to easily visit Dubai and its major attractions, such as the Dubai Aquarium and Burj Khalifa, you can also book a private transfer with pick up or drop off at Dubai Airport at the cheapest price. The SIM card for tourists is always included in the price!
Explore Dubai by Hop On Hop Off Bus with Free Attractions, SIM Card and WiFi Pocket included!
This is truly a big deal! By booking this bundle online you can explore Dubai in 24, 48 or 72 hours by taking advantage of an unlimited pass for the Hop On Hop Off double decker buses that allow you to easily move between the major attractions of Dubai (including audio guide in your favorite language).
You also have free entry to several Dubai attractions and get a SIM Card with data and international calls included. You can also take advantage of the free rental of a portable 4G Pocket WiFi that allows you to share the connection with 10 devices (laptops, tablets or smartphones) at a time.
All of this comes for a price that starts at just $ 60!
Private Return Transfer from Dubai Airport with Data SIM Card
Enjoy the convenience of finding your driver waiting for you in the arrivals hall, and then reach your hotel in total comfort and without hassle.
This private transfer service is perfect for families, couples and business travelers. You will have the transfer from Dubai Airport to your hotel on the day of your arrival, and your driver will return to pick you up at the hotel and drop you off at the airport on the day of your departure.
You can also enjoy a Data SIM Card to be used freely during your stay in Dubai (up to 3GB), which will be given to you directly by the driver and which you will return to him on the day of your departure.