Planning to visit Dubai soon? Before you jet off to this popular tourist destination, make sure you get yourself a reliable local prepaid SIM card to avoid paying high international roaming costs.

Alternatively, you can use a Dubai eSIM card as an easier and cheaper solution for mobile connectivity. But bear in mind that like most other things, prepaid SIM cards for tourists are pretty expensive in Dubai but still not as expensive as international roaming plans.

In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about tourist prepaid SIM cards in Dubai including places to buy, the latest updated SIM plans, best networks, and price comparisons.

The aim is to equip travelers with insightful information so that they can make an informed choice and save money on data and mobile connectivity.

Recommendations for Top Tourist Prepaid SIM Cards in Dubai

The most convenient and cheapest way to stay connected in Dubai is an eSIM. But if you do not want to use eSIM, then the best possible solution is to buy a tourist prepaid SIM card on arrival at Dubai International Airport.

Purchasing a prepaid SIM card in Dubai is simple and quick. You can find kiosks at the airport selling reliable local SIM connections for tourists at the same price as in the retail stores in the Emirate.

An important point to remember is that local prepaid SIM cards in Dubai are more expensive than eSIM cards. Airalo and Nomad offer eSIMs for Dubai at incredibly low rates starting from $8.5 (AED 31.22) while local prepaid SIM cards for tourists powered by Du or Etisalat may cost $34 (AED 124.88) for 10 GB data volume.

Local prepaid SIM cards in Dubai are either sold by Du or Etisalat. Virgin Mobile is a new player in the game and offers attractive SIM cards for locals and tourists alike. Now let’s take a look at some of the best SIM plans these companies provide for travellers arriving in the city.

Latest Updated Prices for Prepaid SIM Cards in Dubai

Below we have mentioned the latest updated prices for prepaid SIM cards in Dubai so that you can compare plans by different mobile network providers and purchase the most suitable connection depending on your budget and personal preferences.

  1. Du Prepaid SIM cards

Du offers a wide variety of tourist prepaid SIM cards in Dubai. Details are as follows:

  • 2 GB data volume and 30 flexi minutes valid for 28 days = $13 (AED49)
  • 6 GB data volume and 30 flexi minutes valid for 28 days =$27(AED99)
  • 10 GB data volume and 30 flexi minutes valid for 28 days = $38 (AED139)
  • 20 GB data volume and 20 flexi minutes valid for 28 days = $51 (AED189)

Flexi minutes provide users with the flexibility to utilize them for either local or international calls. Du also provies the option of making unlimited voice and video calls through designated apps such as BOTIM, HiU, C’ME, and Voico UAE.

However, it’s crucial to note that video calls via popular platforms like WhatsApp, Messenger, and Facetime remain blocked in the UAE.

Du has recently introduced an unlimited data SIM card option for Dubai, priced at 299 AED ($81), valid for 10 days. For the most up-to-date Du prepaid offers, we recommend you visit their official website.

  1. Etisalat’s Tourist Prepaid SIM Cards in Dubai

Here is a list of Etisalat’s tourist prepaid SIM cards in Dubai:

  • 2 GB data volume and 30 flexi minutes = $13 (AED 49)
  • 4 GB data volume and 30 flexi minutes = $22 (AED 79)
  • 10 GB data volume and 120 flexi minutes = $34 (AED 125)
  • 20 GB data volume and 525 flexi minutes = $54 (AED 200)
  • Unlimited data volume and 100 flexi minutes = $87 (AED 319)

Etisalat offers a lot of attractive discounts for its patrons to help them enjoy unparalleled mobile connectivity at the best affordable rates. The promotions and discounts are available exclusively through their Smiles Loyalty App. To get the latest updates and prepaid SIM card offers, we recommend you keep an eye on their official website.

  1. Virgin Mobile’s Tourist Prepaid SIM Cards

Virgin Mobile is a virtual network operator that operates on Du’s network. Their prepaid SIM cards are a great option for travelers with heavy data usage.

Below are some of the best tourist prepaid SIM cards in Dubai offered by Virgin Mobile.

  • 21 GB data (3 GB per day) and 30 minutes plus 20 international minutes valid for 7 days = AED 150 ($41)
  • 40 GB data (4 GB per day) and 30 minutes plus 20 international minutes valid for 10 days = AED 200 ($54)
  • Unlimited data and 30 minutes plus 20 international minutes valid for 10 days = AED 305 ($83)
  • Unlimited data and 30 minutes plus 20 international minutes valid for 15 days = AED 405 ($110)

Besides the above-mentioned SIM card deals, Virgin has some other attractive SIM plans for travelers who intend to stay for longer. Here are the details:

  • 14 GB data volume and 50 minutes plus 50 international minutes valid for 4 weeks = AED189- $51
  • 30 GB data volume and 50 minutes plus 50 international minutes valid for 4 weeks = AED 299 – $81
  • 44 GB data volume and 50 minutes plus 50 international minutes valid for 4 weeks = AED 357- $97
  • 56 GB data volume and 50 minutes plus 50 international minutes valid for 4 weeks = AED 420 – $114
  • 100 GB data volume and 50 minutes plus 50 international minutes valid for 4 weeks = AED 656 – $179
  1. Kitmytrip Prepaid SIM Cards for Dubai Tourists

Last but not least, Kitmytrip is a reliable third-party vendor that offers budget-friendly prepaid sim cards for Dubai tourists. They are an official reseller of DU Mobile’s prepaid SIM cards and have a kiosk located in Dubai International Airport.

Kitmytrip also provides an extensive array of discount coupons for top attractions in Dubai, including the Dubai Mall Aquarium, Burj Khalifa Observation Deck, The Dubai Ain – World’s Highest Observation Wheel, and more.

You can check out their desk upon arrival at Dubai airport and choose a suitable prepaid sim card for your travels inside of the emirate and avail of complimentary discounts for top attractions in Dubai.

Mobile Network Providers in Dubai

Regrettably, Dubai’s mobile communication market is limited to just two operators: Du and Etisalat, which results in a lack of competition and higher prices for consumers.

Etisalat and Du

Du and Etisalat, two major players in the market offer pretty similar network coverage and mobile service. Their prepaid SIM cards are quite similar and are also priced at somewhat the same rates. Given this similarity, it sometimes gets very difficult to determine the best tourist prepaid SIM card in the country.

No matter which network you choose, be ready to spend around $4 (AED 14.69) per Gigabyte. If you intend to save money then there isn’t any better option than an eSIM and you can purchase and activate the connection even before landing in Dubai. Here is a list of the best tourist eSim cards for Dubai in case you are interested.

International prepaid SIM Cards in Dubai

Another good alternative is an international prepaid SIM card. These SIMs are designed for those who do not have eSIM-compatible devices and plan on visiting multiple countries during their trip abroad. These preactivated SIM cards can be purchased online through credible vendors and delivered straight to your doorstep.

If you wish to purchase an international prepaid SIM card for Dubai, then make sure you have an unlocked phone as foreign SIM cards only operate in unlocked devices. If you are not sure about the status of your mobile phone then it’s recommended to contact your local mobile connection provider before traveling abroad.

Generally, mobile phones purchased in Asia, Australia, and Europe are unlocked and phones purchased from USA and Canada are usually locked.

The UAE is known as one of the costliest countries globally when it comes to mobile connectivity and prepaid SIM cards. Surprisingly, even in countries renowned for their high cost of living like Switzerland, Norway, and Finland, prepaid SIM cards come at a much lower price compared to Dubai. Unfortunately, Dubai’s SIM cards offer little value for money, with an average cost of around $4 (AED 14.69) per GB.

An important point to remember is that voice and video calls are restricted in the UAE across all mobile network providers. This means popular communication platforms like Facetime, Facebook Messenger, or WhatsApp cannot be used for calling purposes. However, sending text messages remains unaffected by these restrictions.

Why Buy a Local Tourist Prepaid SIM Card in Dubai?

If there’s one destination in the world where tourists can comfortably roam around without a local SIM card, it’s Dubai. The city boasts an extensive and reliable network of Wi-Fi hotspots spread across almost every corner providing seamless connectivity for visitors. All Malls and public places have free and fast Wi-Fi for everyone visiting.

Yet, the convenience of connectivity in Dubai might falter when it comes to booking a taxi or jetting off on a road trip around the Emirates. In such scenarios, having an internet connection on your phone becomes indispensable for smoother navigation and communication.

Purchasing a local tourist SIM card in Dubai offers several compelling benefits for travelers. Here are some notable reasons for using a prepaid SIM card in the Emirates.

  • Cost-effectiveness

Local tourist SIM cards typically provide more value for money compared to roaming services from your home country. They often come with data, call, and text packages tailored for tourists at affordable rates.

  • Seamless Connectivity

With a local SIM card, you’ll have immediate access to the local network, ensuring seamless connectivity wherever you go in Dubai. This is particularly advantageous for staying connected while exploring the city’s attractions, navigating using maps, or communicating with locals.

  • High-Speed Data

Dubai boasts a robust telecommunications infrastructure, providing high-speed data services. A local SIM card ensures you can make the most of these fast connections, whether you’re browsing the web, streaming content, or sharing your travel experiences on social media.

  • Convenience

Having a local SIM card eliminates the hassle of searching for WiFi hotspots or relying on intermittent connections. You can stay connected on the go without worrying about network availability or connectivity issues.

  • Local Services and Promotions

Some local SIM card providers offer exclusive deals, discounts, and promotions for tourists, such as discounted rates for attractions, restaurants, or transportation services. These perks can enhance your overall travel experience and save you money.

  • Emergency Communication

In case of emergencies, having a local SIM card ensures you can quickly reach out for assistance or contact local services without any barriers.

Overall, buying a local tourist SIM card in Dubai provides travelers with the convenience, affordability, and reliability they need to stay connected and make the most of their experience in the city.

Opting for a local prepaid SIM card proves to be a wise move. While the process is straightforward and swift, it’s worth noting that affordability might not be its strongest suit.

Local SIM cards undoubtedly offer better value compared to pricey overseas data plans or international travel SIM cards. However, for those seeking comprehensive coverage during their Dubai trip, some international SIM cards with global reach can be a good option.

Where to Buy Tourist Prepaid SIM cards in Dubai?

Dubai offers convenient access to prepaid SIM cards for visitors, available at numerous malls and stores of Etisalat, Du, and Virgin Mobile across the city. Procuring one is a straightforward process, especially given that English proficiency is widespread among residents in the UAE.

For travelers arriving at Dubai International Airport, it’s recommended to purchase your prepaid SIM card upon arrival. Tourist SIM card prices remain consistent throughout the UAE, whether bought at malls or Dubai Airport. Hence, there’s no discernible price variance between stores in malls and those at the airport.

When purchasing prepaid SIM cards in Dubai, it’s essential to have your passport with you. Phone stores typically require a copy of your passport as the SIM will be registered under your passport number for identification purposes.

Furthermore, there are international SIM cards available that offer coverage across multiple countries. For more details on international SIM cards for traveling abroad, you may click here.

Buying a prepaid SIM card at Dubai International Airport

Purchasing a prepaid SIM card at Dubai Airport (DXB) is exceptionally convenient. Each terminal hosts multiple Dubai SIM card vendors, streamlining the purchasing process for travelers. Moreover, Dubai Airport offers complimentary WiFi, delivering reliable connectivity.

Fortunately, the prices for prepaid SIM cards in Dubai remain consistent across every terminal and in shops throughout malls. Therefore, regardless of the terminal you arrive at within the Airport, you’ll find different prepaid SIM cards, all for a similar price.

Regardless of the terminal you find yourself in, you’ll find kiosks of different mobile network operators offering prepaid SIM cards for tourists, including:

  • Du
  • Etisalat
  • Virgin Mobile
  • Kitmytrip

When purchasing a SIM card at Dubai Airport, anticipate potentially long lines at Terminal 1, particularly during peak hours. In contrast, Terminals 2 and 3 typically experience fewer crowds and shorter wait times, offering a smoother and more efficient buying experience.

Free Tourist Prepaid SIM Cards at Dubai International Airport

Upon arriving at Dubai Airport, travelers have the convenience of obtaining a complimentary tourist SIM card, ensuring seamless connectivity during their stay in the city. This service, provided by the local telecommunication authorities in partnership with DU aims to enhance the experience of visitors by offering instant access to communication networks upon arrival.

The process is typically straightforward and hassle-free, with designated kiosks or counters available within the airport terminals. Travelers are required to present their passports to verify their tourist status and eligibility for the free SIM card. Once the necessary documentation is verified, tourists receive their SIM card along with instructions on activation and usage.

Free Du Prepaid SIM Cards for Dubai Tourists

The Du prepaid SIM card handed over to tourists at the airport comes pre-activated and ready for immediate use. It’s a simple plug-and-play process; just insert the SIM card into your phone, and you’re all set to enjoy 1 GB of complimentary data for the next 24 hours.

However, it’s important to note that after the initial 24-hour period, travelers will need to top up their SIM card with one of the prepaid packages by DU mentioned earlier in the article.

Also, registration with a passport is required to continue using the SIM card after the complimentary period expires. Thankfully, the registration process is straightforward, with detailed instructions mentioned on the SIM card package.

For travelers utilizing automated passport scanners at customs, it’s important to note that the complimentary SIM won’t be handed out automatically. In this case, individuals must visit a designated booth staffed by an officer to obtain their free Dubai tourist prepaid SIM card.

Furthermore, it’s worth mentioning that the free SIM card provided at Dubai Airport is automatically linked to the traveler’s passport number. Therefore, verification of the passport number is required upon inserting the SIM card into the phone. You will only be able to utilize the 1 GB complimentary data after your passport number matches with the one registered in the system.

What is the Best Tourist Prepaid SIM Card in Dubai?

Du and Etisalat both offer somewhat similar prepaid SIM cards for tourists in Dubai. On average you will pay around AED 50 for 2 GB data volume and 30 free local and international minutes. The validity times may differ but overall both DU and Etisalat offer prepaid SIMs at the same cost.

Virgin Mobile also offers a range of reasonably priced sim card deals with the cheapest plan available for AED 150 offering 21 GB data for 7 days.

All mobile network providers in Dubai have 4G/LTE/5G coverage offering high-speed internet browsing on the go. While prepaid SIM cards in Dubai may not be as cheap as eSIMs they can be a reliable option to stay connected when visiting the emirate for a holiday trip.


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