Are you planning on visiting Dubai? If yes, then you’ll probably need a Dubai tourist SIM card!
As well as being a rather insta-famous city, it’s simply put a necessity to have internet when travelling these days; from retrieving travel booking details to ordering taxis and meals while you’re on the go – trust us, there’s an app for everything in Dubai!
Although you’ll get access to a Wi-Fi network in most places in Dubai, what if you’re on the go? That’s when you’ll need a travel SIM in Dubai to make calls, use social media, or use Maps to navigate around the city or call a driver.
Therefore, for your ease and convenience, we have put together everything you need to know about getting a SIM card in Dubai for tourists.
You will find detailed information in this article, from the mobile network operators in Dubai to the best SIM card and even how to pre-order a Dubai SIM, so you’re ready to go.
Mobile Operators in the UAE
Getting a Dubai tourist SIM is a pretty straightforward process. However, there are multiple mobile operators in the UAE, so it gets rather confusing for tourists to decide which mobile network SIM they should go for based on the packages offered.
However, there’s no need to worry, as we have simplified everything for you! Below you will find a list of mobile operators in the UAE with information about purchasing their SIM and which operator is the most suitable for you.
1. Du SIM Card in Dubai for Tourists
Du is a mobile operator in UAE, launched in 2007. If you want to get a Du SIM card, you can get one on arrival at the airport or from the Du store.
The upside of getting a Du SIM from the immigration counters at the Dubai airport is that you get it for free with 1GB of local data as a welcome bonus. As for the activation, you don’t need to go through extensive steps as the SIM is already activated using your passport information.
To start using the du SIM, you simply have to insert it into your mobile and verify your date of birth via a verification text. Once the verification is complete, you will get 1GB of local data for free, valid for 24 hours.
You can also purchase a Du SIM card from its franchise store across the city. If you just buy the SIM without any package, it will cost around AED 10; however, if you activate a bundle package (starting from AED 49), you’ll get the SIM for free. You’ll just need your passport to get started.
2. Etisalat Dubai Tourist SIM
Etisalat is the 18th largest mobile operator in the world and operates in more than 16 countries. Therefore, we can say that it is one of the best SIM cards for Dubai.
You can get an Etisalat SIM from the Dubai airport when you land. And while it does not offer free data, it has plenty of packages.
For instance, it has 3 Visitor Line packages, where you can get a 28-day package including a SIM card, 4GB of data, and 30 Flexi minutes for AED 79.
Similarly, you can get a premium 28-day package for AED 125, which includes a SIM card, 8GB of data, 120 Flexi minutes, and 5 Wi-Fi hours.
And if you’re looking for an unlimited data package, get it for AED 319, including a SIM card, 10 days of unlimited data, and 100 Flexi hours.
Visitor Line packages are valid until your visa; therefore, if you plan on staying in Dubai for good, you can switch to Etisalat’s other pre-paid and post-paid packages.
3. Virgin Mobile Travel SIM in Dubai
Virgin Mobile is a newer mobile operator in UAE by the Virgin Mobile brand. It offers special tourist SIM cards with different packages to people visiting Dubai for business or vacations.
You can get the SIM from the airport as soon as you land; however, the tourist SIM is for one-time use. This means you can use it for as long as your package lasts and won’t be able to renew it.
Virgin Mobile offers three packages for its Dubai tourist SIM:
- A 7-day package costs AED 150 with 21GB of data
- A 10-day package costs AED 200 with 40GB of data
- A 15-day package costs AED 300 with unlimited data.
What About SIMs sold by tour companies?
The tour companies will be selling you a sim card based on one of the above three networks.
All should have reliable coverage in metropolitan areas. Beyond that, in the mountains and the desert, it’s time to switch off, and get yourself an offline map, as the network will be patchy or non-existent no matter whose network you use (they are all ultimately government-owned and share much of their infrastructure).
KitMyTrip – Via GetYourGuide
Popular online tour provider Get Your Guide partners with KitMyTrip to deliver several great value tourist bundles to consider – they take all the guesswork of how to sign up for a network, you really just have to decide how data-hungry you are!
You’ll need to find their kiosks in arrivals at DXB Terminals 1 and 3 to get your data set up (NB not for arrivals in DXB Terminal 2 or DWC airport).
- Their SIM card-only package lets you choose from 2GB, 4GB, 8GB, 22.5GB and unlimited over 28 days – starting from $15USD – check it out here
- Package your SIM and NOL Card – calls, data and a silver public transport pass known as “Nol” this is a popular tourist package – check it out here
- Pocket Wifi Rental – If you’ve got multiple devices, this one could be your solution, rent a mobile hotspot and return it after your trip – suitable for 4 to 10 days, or add extra days on – check it out here
Do read the fine print if pre-packaged SIM bundles will work for you, only 1 per passport and users must be over 18, so you can’t hand one out to each of the kids. In this instance, families should consider pocket wifi options.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on Dubai Tourist Sims
The free tourist SIM is a free SIM card Du Telecommunications offers to people visiting Dubai. This SIM card can be picked up from the immigration counter at the Dubai airport and is activated using your passport details. It contains 1GB of free local data valid for 24 hours. Once the time is over, you can recharge your SIM with the various tourist packages offered by Du.
We recommend getting a SIM card on arrival in Dubai from the airport. The reason? It’s simple, it’s easy, and it’s fast.
Plus, multiple SIM card sellers at the airport make buying it pretty straightforward.
You have to provide your passport details, go through the various packages, and get the SIM.
On the other hand, you can also pre-order your SIM card. You have to contact the mobile operator, select a package, and provide your home address in your country. The mobile operator will then mail the SIM card to your address.
However, we won’t recommend this option, as it takes too long, plus you never know when you will receive the SIM via mail. Also, what if it gets lost on the way? And this method isn’t suitable if you make a sudden plan to visit Dubai.
Based on the offers and packages by Du, Etisalat, and Virgin Mobile, the best SIM card for Dubai is Du. Because for starters, it offers a free tourist SIM to the visitors. You can quickly insert it into your mobile and get connected almost instantly.
Etisalat is also a good option, but it is a bit expensive, and its Visitors Line’s validity depends on your visa expiration. However, it is a good option if you’re in Dubai for limited days.
As mentioned earlier, getting a tourist SIM in Dubai is easy. You can either get it from the airport or the mobile network provider’s store. The representative will ask for your passport, take its copy, and register the SIM card in your name.
Getting a Dubai tourist SIM card is not a big deal. It is pretty simple if you know how to go about the process.
Before you go… More important things you should know when planning a trip to Dubai
- Pop into our essential planning information page, it includes everything you need to know about getting around Dubai, a handy guide on what to pack, and top tips for first-timers on the do’s and don’ts, laws, and customs to be aware of.
- Check out this incredible list of 150+ places you should visit when you’re in Dubai.
- Pick up a Dubai Pass from iVenture or a Go City Dubai Pass to save up to 50% on top Dubai attractions.
- Don’t forget to pack your travel insurance!!!
- Discover the best areas to stay in Dubai, or bag a bargain on your accommodation here:
Take me back to the Dubai Travel Planner Blog
Please note we are not a travel agency. This site is a travel blog to help newcomers to the UAE and transit passengers self plan their trip, we cannot book your flights, hotels, visas or connections for you. We may make a small commission if you click on any of our recommendation links.Dubai Travel Planner