Choose the best Dubai SIM cards for tourists to save money and find your way in the city. As a frequent traveller, I know how important it is to stay connected while exploring new destinations. Dubai is a city that offers a lot to see and do, and having a reliable mobile internet connection is essential to make the most of your trip. In this article, I will tell you about the best tourist SIM cards for Dubai and how to buy them, popular mobile networks, SIM card prices, Dubai eSIM cards and portable Wi-Fi devices. Keep reading to compare Dubai mobile internet packages and select the one that suits you.
Can tourists buy a SIM card in Dubai
Yes, all tourists aged 18 or older can buy a SIM card in Dubai. The process is straightforward, and you can purchase a SIM card from any mobile operator’s store or authorised resellers. You must present a valid passport and a tourist visa to complete the registration process, and the SIM card will be activated within a few hours. Only one tourist SIM per person is allowed.
Benefits of using a tourist SIM card
Using a Dubai tourist SIM card has several benefits.
- You will have access to the internet at a much lower cost than roaming charges.
- You will be able to make local (and international) calls and send text messages at affordable rates.
- Having a local number will make it easier for you to book taxis, make restaurant reservations and communicate with the locals.
All in all, having a local SIM card for Dubai will save you from exorbitant roaming charges and allow you to stay connected with your friends and family.
What to consider when choosing a Dubai tourist SIM card
- Network coverage and signal strength
- Price and plans
- Data allowances and packages
- Customer service and support
Dubai mobile operators
There are three main mobile operators in Dubai: Du, Etisalat and Virgin Mobile. All three offer a range of mobile plans for visitors catering to different needs and budgets. Mobile phone numbers in the UAE consist of 10 digits, and the UAE country code is +971.
Du and Etisalat are the two largest mobile operators in Dubai, with extensive coverage across the city. Virgin Mobile is a newer player in the market.
How much does a SIM card cost in Dubai
The Dubai tourist SIM card price varies depending on the operator and the plan you choose. Generally, you can expect to pay on average from AED 49 for 2 GB of data and 30 min calls to AED 299 for a 14-day plan that includes unlimited mobile internet and a package of calls. Below, I will tell you more about the exact tourist SIM cards price for Dubai and UAE.
Comparison of the best Dubai tourist SIM cards: Etisalat, Du and Virgin Mobile
Virgin Mobile, Du and Etisalat offer a range of tourist SIM cards that cater to different needs and budgets. Here is a comparison of the Dubai mobile networks’ best tourist SIM cards with prices.
Etisalat SIM card price
How much is an Etisalat SIM card for tourists? Check the Etisalat SIM card plans below.
|PRICE||AED 49||AED 79||AED 125||AED 200||AED 200 ||AED 319|
|VALIDITY ||28 days||28 days||28 days||28 days||7 days||14 days|
|MOBILE DATA ||2 GB||4 GB||8 GB||22.5 GB||Unlimited||Unlimited|
|CALLS ||30 min||30 min||120 min||525 min||100 min||300 min|
As a bonus, with an Etisalat prepaid SIM you can get discounts on several services, like Careem and Hala taxi rides, via third-party apps. Several mobile plans also include free Wi-Fi access via Etisalat’s network.
Du SIM card price
How much is a Du SIM card for tourists? Check the Du SIM card plans below.
|PRICE||AED 49||AED 99||AED 139||AED 189||AED 199 ||AED 299|
|VALIDITY||28 days||28 days||28 days||28 days||7 days||14 days|
|MOBILE DATA||2 GB||6 GB||10 GB||20 GB||Unlimited||Unlimited|
|CALLS||30 min||30 min + Unlimited internet calling||30 min + Unlimited internet calling||30 min + Unlimited internet calling||100 min + Unlimited internet calling||200 min + Unlimited internet calling|
The Dubai Airport immigration staff regularly distributes free Du SIM cards on arrival. Remember that the cards are loaded with 1 GB data available only for 24 hours and need to be topped up to use beyond that period. You should still go to the store to register and activate the free Du SIM card providing your passport and a tourist visa.
Virgin Mobile SIM card price
How much is a Virgin Mobile SIM card for tourists? Check the Virgin Mobile SIM card plans below.
|PRICE||AED 142.86||AED 190.48||AED 285.71||AED 476.19|
|VALIDITY||7 days||15 days||15 days||30 days|
|MOBILE DATA||21 GB (3 GB limit per day)||40 GB (4 GB limit per day)||Unlimited||Unlimited|
|CALLS||30 min local + 20 min international||30 min local + 20 min international||30 min local + 20 min international + Unlimited internet calling||30 min local + 20 min international + Unlimited internet calling|
Which Dubai SIM card for tourists is the best
The best Dubai tourist SIM card depends on your preferences and budget. I recommend buying Etisalat SIM for the largest mobile network and connection quality. Du’s mobile network is slightly smaller. Mobile packages of these two operators are, in general, relatively similar.
If you are looking for an affordable plan with a decent amount of data and local minutes, then Virgin Mobile’s tourist SIM card is a good option. However, you will have a daily data limit, and their mobile coverage is slightly worse compared to the other two operators.
Where to buy a tourist SIM card in Dubai
You can buy a tourist SIM card in Dubai from any mobile operator’s store or authorised reseller, including Kit My Trip. They are all located at Dubai Airport, and some can be found at big shopping malls, like the Dubai Mall and the Mall of the Emirates. You can also pre-book your Dubai SIM and conveniently pick it up on arrival at the airport.
Have Fun Dubai’s Tip: Before you get your SIM card on arrival, you can use Dubai International Airport’s Wi-Fi. Select “DXB Free Wi-Fi” and then connect to the network using your browser .
Buying SIM cards at Dubai Airport
Buying a SIM card at Dubai International Airport (Terminals 1 and 3) is easy and convenient. Etisalat, Du and Virgin Mobile have kiosks set up in the arrivals hall after you exit the baggage claim area.
Right next to them, you will also find the Kit My Trip store. It is an official and very reliable reseller. I recommend buying your Dubai tourist SIM from Kit My Trip in advance and collecting it at the airport on arrival. What is the benefit? The price is exactly the same, as in the mobile operator’s store, but the queues are shorter. The staff are friendly and knowledgeable, and they helped me to quickly register the card. Buy your Etisalat SIM for Dubai with pick-up at the Kit My Trip kiosk via the link below.
To register and activate your Dubai tourist SIM, you should:
- Be 18 or above
- Present your booking email confirmation
- Provide your passport and a tourist visa
Dubai SIM card and public transport card combo deal
Do you plan also to use public transport in Dubai? You will need a smart NOL card to pay for your trips, including metro, bus and tram. Read more about all NOL card types here. Kit My Trip offers an excellent value deal, allowing you to get your SIM card for Dubai + NOL Silver card cheaper than buying them separately.
Dubai tourist eSIM: what is it and how it works
Another great option is to buy a Dubai tourist eSIM, which is a digital SIM card that can be downloaded onto your smartphone. The eSIM is linked to your phone’s IMEI number and does not require a physical SIM card.
An eSIM card has several advantages over a regular one:
- Easy to activate — even at home
- It’s a digital card, so you will not lose it
- Eco-friendly, so you save resources
- You can keep using your regular phone number
- Easy to switch between networks
- Easy to top up the balance
Buy cheap eSIM cards for Dubai via the link below on Airalo. This is a well-known and reliable eSIM cards marketplace where you can order digital cards with a mobile data package to use in the UAE, Middle East or globally. Create an account, download the app and follow the instructions to add a data package. You can easily top up the balance. Remember that tourist eSIM cards might not include phone call packages.
UAE eSIM card price (offered by Burj Mobile on Airalo):
- 1 GB (valid for 7 days): $8.50
- 3 GB (valid for 30 days): $22.50
- 5 GB (valid for 30 days): $35
Portable Wi-Fi in Dubai: a convenient alternative to tourist SIM cards
If you prefer not to use a local SIM card, you can also rent a portable Wi-Fi device in Dubai. A portable 4G Wi-Fi pocket device allows you to connect multiple gadgets to the internet and is a convenient alternative to a tourist SIM card.
You can rent a portable Wi-Fi device from Kit My Trip for 4 or 10 days and conveniently pick it up at their kiosk in the arrival hall of Dubai International Airport (Terminals 1 and 3). Different data plans are available, including 2 GB, 4 GB, 8 GB, 20 GB and Unlimited.
On the other hand, this option has several disadvantages. For instance, you must regularly charge the device and carry it with you. Also, you will be asked for a refundable rental deposit during a pick-up, which might be inconvenient for some people.
In conclusion, having a local SIM card in Dubai is essential to stay connected and save money on mobile services. Virgin Mobile, Du and Etisalat offer a range of tourist SIM cards that cater to different needs and budgets. Whether you choose a physical SIM card or a tourist eSIM, make sure to activate it as soon as possible to start enjoying the benefits of being connected in Dubai.
Prepare for your Dubai trip
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