Visiting the United Arab Emirates soon? Make sure to know what to expect when it comes to purchasing a United Arab Emirates SIM card.
Fortunately, the Middle East is one of the best places where you can buy a SIM card easily.
You should be able to find a cheap SIM card pretty much anywhere in the Middle East. In fact, most data packages are affordable, which makes the whole thing easier!
In this guide, we’ll explain where to buy a SIM card in the United Arab Emirates in person and online. We’ll also discuss prepaid SIM cards and eSIMs if your mobile supports them.
Before you read this guide, you may wonder if you actually need a SIM card in the United Arab Emirates.
If you don’t mind not having Internet, you’ll likely find free Wifi in restaurants, shopping malls, and hotels.
That said, if you need data to get around, call a cab, or translate Arabic – you may want to get a SIM card for your travels in the United Arab Emirates.
Best SIM Cards In The United Arab Emirates
If you’re traveling in the United Arab Emirates, we recommend using a SIM card from Etisalat, Du, Virgin Mobile, or Airalo. (I’ll get back to Airalo later on, so keep reading to learn more!)
That said, if you’re planning on visiting other countries during your trip to the Middle East, you might want to make sure to pick an option that offers coverage in other Middle Eastern countries.
How To Buy An UAE SIM Card
You can either buy a United Arab Emirates prepaid SIM card in person in some international airports, mobile provider stores, convenience stores, or online.
Usually, you can expect higher costs and low data offers at the airport, so we don’t recommend buying a SIM card at the airport.
That said, you won’t necessarily find SIM card shops in every airport, so it’s essential to keep this in mind. And, when you see a shop, you might also have limited options.
For this reason, I’d recommend buying a SIM card directly from the mobile provider store. Note that you may need your passport to buy one.
Although, this means you won’t get data right upon your arrival. So, if you prefer to be connected at all times, you could use an eSIM or purchase a Middle Eastern prepaid SIM card online.
Now, let’s take a look at the data plans offered by Etisalat, Du, and Virgin Mobile.
Etisalat SIM Cards
Etisalat offers four different types of prepaid plans:
- 1 GB, valid for 30 days for AED 47.61 ($12.96)
- 2 GB, valid for 30 days for AED 76.19 ($20.75)
- 3 GB, valid for 30 days for AED 95.23 ($25.93)
- 5 GB, valid for 30 days for AED 133.33 ($36.30)
Du SIM Cards
Du has four different prepaid plans available:
- 2 GB, valid for 30 days for AED 49 ($13.34)
- 4 GB, valid for 30 days for AED 79 ($21.51)
- 6 GB, valid for 30 days for AED 99 ($26.96)
- 10 GB, valid for 30 days for AED 139 ($37.85)
Virgin Mobile SIM Cards
Virgin Mobile offers three SIM-only plans for tourists:
- 21 GB, valid for 7 days for AED 142.50 ($38.80)
- 40 GB, valid for 10 days for AED 190 ($51.74)
- 75 GB, valid for 15 days for AED 285 ($77.60)
Overall, we think Etisalat is the best option if you plan to buy your SIM card in person.
That said, any would do if you can’t find their store!
How To Buy An United Arab Emirates Prepaid SIM Card Online
If you wish to have your SIM card ready for your arrival, you could purchase it online or on websites like Amazon.
You’ll find different plans on Amazon. For example, the OneSimCard works in more than 200+ countries and gives you data for $0.01 per MB. The United Arab Emirates is included.
But there are many other options worth considering, so have a look and make sure the countries you plan on visiting are listed.
Another option is to purchase a prepaid Middle Eastern SIM card on Simify. This works if you live in the United States or Australia.
They currently offer two packages that cover the United Arab Emirates:
- 6 GB, valid for 15 days for $40
- 6 GB, valid for 15 days for $40 – 120 countries
Finally, the last option is to buy an eSIM card for the United Arab Emirates or, if you’re traveling to multiple countries, an eSIM plan for the Middle East.
How To Buy An eSIM Card For United Arab Emirates
eSIM is a new concept allowing you to have a virtual SIM card inside your phone.
If your mobile phone supports eSIM cards – it’s definitely one of the best options to get data in the United Arab Emirates.
Curious? Learn more about eSIMs for travelers on eSIM Roamers.
I started using eSIM as soon as my mobile phone supported it. To buy eSIMs, I usually use Airalo, a reliable eSIM provider.
Keep reading to learn more about the best eSIMs for the United Arab Emirates.
Airalo United Arab Emirates
If you want to buy an eSIM for the United Arab Emirates, you could purchase one on Airalo.
This website offers many eSIM cards worldwide and special plans for the Middle East and the United Arab Emirates.
I’ve been using Airalo for several months, and it works fine. Learn more by reading our Airalo review.
Here are the options available:
- Burj Mobile: 1 GB, valid for 7 days for $8.50
- Burj Mobile: 3 GB, valid for 30 days for $22.50
- Burj Mobile: 5 GB, valid for 30 days for $35
The following options are also available for the Middle East:
- 1 GB, valid for 7 days for $15
- 2 GB, valid for 15 days for $28
- 3 GB, valid for 30 days for $39
These are part of the Menalink plan and cover the Middle East and North Africa, including the United Arab Emirates.
Alternatively, if you’re traveling in other countries, Discover Global offers coverage in 84 countries, including the United Arab Emirates.
Here’s an overview of the options available on Discover Global:
- 1 GB, valid for 7 days for $9
- 3 GB, valid for 15 days for $24
- 5 GB, valid for 30 days for $35
- 10 GB, valid for 60 days for $59
- 20 GB, valid for 180 days for $89
Now, one important thing to note about Airalo is that you’ll need to keep an eye out for the provider in each country.
Suppose you ever have trouble connecting to the Internet during your trip.
In that case, it might be because you’re connecting automatically to networks and need to select a network manually instead.
When you purchase the eSIM, you’ll get access to the list of networks supported in each country.
Holafly United Arab Emirates
Alternatively, you could look at your options on Holafly.
You can read our Holafly review to learn more about this eSIM store.
Here’s an overview of the plan for the United Arab Emirates:
- 6 GB data, valid for 15 days for $49
Nomad United Arab Emirates
Finally, Nomad is also a great eSIM provider.
Nomad also has Global, an eSIM plan for 111 countries worldwide. This plan offers coverage in the United Arab Emirates.
Here’s an overview:
- 1GB, valid for 7 days for $25
- 3GB, valid for 30 days for $40
- 5GB, valid for 30 days for $45
Final Thoughts On United Arab Emirates SIM Cards
As you can see, getting a prepaid SIM card in the United Arab Emirates or even an eSIM for your travels in the United Arab Emirates is pretty straightforward.
You’ll even be able to stay connected wherever you go in the Middle East without changing your SIM card, especially if you purchase a Middle East or global plan.
I believe the eSIM card is the most convenient way to get data in the United Arab Emirates if you wish to have data upon your arrival.
This way, you won’t need to go to a store to buy a SIM card.
Obviously, you need to make sure your mobile phone supports eSIM first.
Traveling to the Middle East soon? Read one of the following blog posts: