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How to buy and use tourist eSIM cards in Dubai

Learn how to stay connected while travelling in the UAE and use mobile data without swapping physical SIM cards

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Using tourist eSIM cards in Dubai will help you to stay connected and save a lot of money. It is a great solution replacing traditional SIM cards, so you won’t even need to pick one from a physical store. That means that you can start using your eSIM right after landing at Dubai airport. Buy and install it in advance before travelling to Dubai in order to avoid any hassle when you arrive. You will be able to use cheap and generous data plans to browse the Internet, search Dubai attractions, use GPS, stay connected with friends and much more. And if your eSIM mobile plan for Dubai finishes, you can easily top it up.

In my comprehensive guide, I will recommend my favourite Dubai eSIM cards for tourists, explain the prices, activation process and more so that you have a smooth experience.

Buy your UAE and Dubai eSIM cards here

What is an eSIM card

An eSIM, or embedded SIM, is a solution that simplifies mobile connectivity because you do not need a physical SIM card. Embedded directly into practically all modern devices, eSIMs allow you to activate cellular and mobile plans from various carriers without swapping SIM cards. But before you buy one, check your smartphone settings to see if this option is available. I am just giving you a heads-up because some older devices do not support eSIM technology.

eSIMs can be activated remotely, often by scanning a QR code provided by the mobile carrier, streamlining the setup process. Such cards can store multiple carrier profiles, enabling you to switch between networks or plans. It may sound a bit scary if you are not yet familiar with eSIM cards. But after trying it once, you will forever forget about physical cards which often get lost or get thrown away after usage. And that is not eco-friendly, folks!

If you still prefer to buy a traditional SIM card for Dubai, check my guide here.

How to buy and use eSIM cards in Dubai - Traditional SIM

What are the benefits of using eSIM cards in Dubai

If you are not yet sure, I will summarise for you the main advantages of eSIMs.

  • Convenience: No physical swapping of SIM cards is needed. When you arrive in Dubai, you can just turn on your eSIM. Even before you leave the aircraft! Very handy, especially if you’ve arranged a pick-up or if you want to let your family and friends know that you have landed.
  • Flexibility: Easily switch between carriers and plans. Moreover, you can use mobile plans while still keeping your own phone number.
  • Cost-effectiveness: Dubai eSIM cards will save you a lot of money because you will avoid massive roaming costs.
  • Seamless Internet access: eSIMs provide stable and high-speed internet connections, essential for navigation, communication and entertainment while staying in Dubai.
  • Security: You get enhanced security features compared to traditional SIM cards.
  • Environmental impact: This option reduces plastic waste associated with physical SIMs.

How to buy and use eSIM cards in Dubai - Mobile plan

How to buy eSIM cards for Dubai and UAE

Buying Dubai eSIM cards for tourists is easy. You can do it online before or during your visit but it is handy to purchase it before you arrive so that you can start using it immediately after entering the UAE. There are several providers you can choose from and I highly recommend buying tourist UAE eSIM cards from Airalo.

Airalo is a reliable online store that offers a range of eSIM options including local, regional and global plans, making it a top choice for travellers. That means that you can buy eSIMs which are valid for the UAE, the Middle East and even the whole world depending on where and how much you travel.

Have Fun Dubai’s Tip: These eSIMs are only for tourists. Moreover, for security reasons, you will need to complete your ID/passport verification, so keep it at hand when purchasing.

Typically, I buy through this provider local eSIMs for the United Arab Emirates which, of course, also include Dubai. There are several benefits these eSIMs offer:

  • Wide range of data plans and prices, from just 1GB for 7 days to 20 GB for 30 days.
  • Reliable and fast network facilitated by Etisalat, probably the best UAE mobile operator.
  • Ability to top-up the balance when you have used the package completely.
  • Data only, meaning that you pay for an Internet package and can keep your regular phone number.

How to buy and use eSIM cards in Dubai - eSIM package

UAE eSIM mobile data plans and prices

Below are the available mobile data packages you can choose from, including Dubai eSIM card prices and validity:

DATA VALIDITY PERIOD PRICE
1 GB 7 days USD 4.50
2 GB 15 days USD 7.00
3 GB 30 days USD 9.50
5 GB 30 days USD 13.00
10 GB 30 days USD 21.00
20 GB 30 days USD 35.00

Compare and buy your UAE and Dubai eSIM cards here

Step-by-step purchase and activation process

If you would like to use eSIM cards in Dubai, here is my quick and easy guide that will help you to buy and activate your card.

  • 1. Check your device compatibility: Before purchasing a tourist eSIM for your travels to Dubai, it’s crucial to confirm that your device is compatible with eSIM technology. You can do it in the Settings but the steps will be different depending on whether you have an Apple, Samsung, Google Pixel or other device.
  • 2. Purchase your eSIM: Select the option that fits your data preferences, create an account and buy the package.
  • 3. Install your eSIM: After purchase, you will receive a QR code. Scan it with your device to install the eSIM.
  • 4. Activate your eSIM: Follow the on-screen instructions to activate your eSIM once it’s installed.
  • 5. Connect to the UAE network: When you arrive in Dubai, turn on your card and your device will connect to a local network, allowing you to start using mobile data immediately.

Have Fun Dubai’s Tip: If you use a VPN, before buying your eSIM cards for Dubai (and not only), make sure to temporarily turn it off. From my experience, using a VPN service while purchasing and installing can make an eSIM unusable so it will be a waste of money. You can disable your VPN and then turn it on again when you have finished the entire process.

You can find more details on the provider’s website via the links above. If required, visit the Help Center to find FAQs and troubleshooting tips.

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