Best Dubai SIM Cards for Tourists: 2024 Detailed Guide [+Internet & WiFi]

Staying connected and navigate the luxurious Dubai like a local with our guide to best Dubai SIM cards and eSIM for tourists.

Dubai SIM Card

Don’t let internet interruptions ruin your trip to luxurious Dubai. Discover the essential details about Dubai SIM cards and eSIM, necessary companions for travelers abroad. We’ll assist you in finding the perfect choice to meet your specific needs.

I. Should You Get a SIM Card in Dubai?

Buying SIM Card in Dubai is very easy
Buying a SIM card in Dubai is very easy

Yes, choosing a Dubai SIM card or eSIM is the easiest and preferred way for travelers to get data and access the internet in Dubai. Despite other options like roaming, pocket Wi-Fi, and public Wi-Fi, many people prioritize using a SIM card or eSIM for several reasons.

Firstly, You can buy a SIM card or eSIM online or offline with various service packages available for different durations such as daily, weekly, or monthly.

Secondly, SIM cards or eSIM provide higher security than public Wi-Fi, reducing the risk of personal information theft by hackers or unauthorized users.

Thirdly, SIM Cards or eSIM provide faster and more stable speeds by directly using local network signals in Dubai, bypassing the need for a home mobile network operator as an intermediary.

► Our recommendation: We recommend using a SIM card or eSIM for internet connectivity while traveling, including in Dubai. Ensure your phone is unlocked to utilize a SIM card.

II. Types of Dubai SIM Card for Tourists – Which One is the Best?

SIM Cards can be classified into two types based on their form:

  • Dubai prepaid physical travel SIM card
  • Prepaid Dubai travel eSIM

Each type has distinct features, as well as both advantages and disadvantages. Let’s explore in more detail about these two types of SIM cards.

1. Prepaid Dubai physical SIM card 

A SIM Card for Dubai
Image of a SIM card

To use the Dubai SIM card, remove your primary SIM card and replace it with this SIM card. But, ensure your phone is unlocked for compatibility.

Pros

  • Reasonable pricing
  • Multiple data plans available

Cons

  • Easy to lose the SIM card
  • Maximum 2 SIM cards per device.
  • Time-consuming to purchase or wait for the SIM to be shipped.

2. Prepaid Dubai travel eSIM

An eSIM Card for Dubai travel

Due to having a chip embedded in the mobile device, you don’t need to physically insert or remove the SIM. Instead, you can simply scan a QR code to retrieve the data plan associated with that code. Some operators may also provide package information through dedicated apps instead of using QR codes.

Pros

  • Use of multiple data plans on the same device
  • Use of QR codes instead of  physical SIM card
  • Online purchase or anywhere
  • Whether you keep or remove the primary SIM card, you can still use WhatsApp, Zalo, or Facebook

Cons

  • Compatible with newer generation devices
  • The phone needs to be unlocked in order to use it.

Our Recommendation: Consider factors and choose between physical SIM card and eSIM based on pros and cons.

  • For sufficient preparation time and affordable Internet access, opt for a Prepaid Dubai physical SIM card.
  • If your phone supports eSIM, prioritize this option for its diversity, convenience, and flexibility.

III. Best Dubai SIM Card Packages for Tourists and Price

2 popular operators in Dubai
Two most popular operators in Dubai

Good to know:

  • 1 Dirham = 0,27 USD
  • 10.000 Dirham = 2.722 USD

There are two prominent operators in Dubai: du and Etisalat. Here are some details about the names and prices of the data plans offered by these two operators in Dubai

1. Best Dubai du Telecom SIM Card Plans and Price

  • Cheapest data plan ( 28 days.): Dhs49 for 2GB data with 30 mins ~ $13,34
  • Unlimited data plan (7 days): Dhs199 with 100 mins ~ $54,18
  • Unlimited data plan (14 days): Dhs299 with 200 mins ~ $81,41

2. Best Etisalat Telecom SIM Card Plans and Price

  • Cheapest plan (28 days): Dhs49 for 2GB data with 30 mins ~ $13,34
  • Unlimited data plan (7 days): Dhs200 with 100 mins ~ $54,45
  • Unlimited data plan (14 days): Dhs319 with 300 mins  ~ $86,85

Our Recommendation: In Dubai, it’s recommended to choose Etisalat as your network operator for competitive prices and cost-effectiveness. In case your phone is compatible with eSIM, you can consider buying an Etisalat eSIM card through GIGAGO eSIM, a trusted partner of this operator.

IV. Where to Buy a Tourist SIM Card for Dubai?

Where to buy SIM Card in Dubai

There are four essential ways you should know to purchase a SIM card for your trip to Dubai.

1. Buy prepaid Dubai eSIM card online before traveling

  • How to do it: Visit reputable websites  such as GIGAGO, and follow the instructions to purchase a prepaid Dubai eSIM card online. Addition, you will typically need to provide your device’s IMEI number and personal details.
  • Where to buy: Online platforms specializing in prepaid eSIM cards for tourists.
  • Pros: Convenient and hassle-free, no need to visit a physical store or airport.
  • Cons: Limited to devices that support eSIM technology. And the important thing is unlocking your device to use the package. 

2. Buy physical SIM card at Dubai airports

  • How to do it: Find a mobile network provider counter at a Dubai airport and purchase a physical Dubai SIM card. Remember to follow the instructions provided by the staff for activation.
  • Where to buy: Dubai airport mobile network provider counters (e.g., Dubai International Airport or Al Maktoum International Airport).
  • Pros: Convenient option for immediate access to network services with a physical SIM card upon arrival.
  • Cons: Limited availability and longer wait times during peak times or busy travel seasons at airport counters.

3. Buy physical SIM card online:

  • How to do it: Visit reputable websites that offer international SIM card delivery services and order a physical Dubai SIM card. Remember to provide the necessary details for shipping. 
  • Where to buy: Online platforms that specialize in delivering SIM cards to your location.
  • Pros: Convenient home delivery before your trip, ensuring immediate connectivity upon arrival.
  • Cons: Potential delivery delays due to unforeseen shipping issues.

4. .Buy physical Dubai SIM in the cities:

  • How to do it: Once you arrive in Dubai, visit local mobile network provider stores or authorized retailers and purchase a physical Dubai SIM card. Follow the instructions provided for activation.
  • Where to buy: Mobile network provider stores or authorized retailers in Dubai.
  • Pros: Extensive options from various network providers and plans.
  • Cons: Inconvenient for occasional Dubai visitors who have to visit a physical store.

Our Recommendation: For tourists buying a Dubai SIM card, it is best to purchase it online. This offers convenience, a variety of plans, and the flexibility of delivery to a preferred location.

V. How Much Data is Enough for a Prepaid Tourist SIM Card for Dubai?

Having 1 GB per day will ensure for your Internet connectivity while traveling in Dubai. With 1GB of data per day, you can:

  • Browse the internet for 20 hours
  • Listen to music for approximately 15 hours, 
  • Upload or download nearly 200 high-quality photos

To determine the exact data package you should purchase when traveling to Dubai, you need to identify whether you fall into the Heavy, Medium, or Light user category. Then, you can consider the following recommendations we have for you:

Heavy UserNeed to buy from 10 GB to comfortably enjoy various online activities such as web browsing, video or music streaming
Medium User3-5GB should be sufficient to maintain internet connectivity for essential activities.
Light User 2-3GB is indeed sufficient to help you access the internet, browse the web, and listen to music.

Pro Tip: After all, choosing which data plan for your trip in Dubai depends on several factors, such as your own internet using habits, budget, and trip duration. So, consider them carefully before choosing any SIM card plan to prepare the best for your trip. 

VI. Dubai eSIM – Alternative to Physical SIM Cards to Get Internet in Dubai

Dubai eSIM - Alternative to physical SIM Card

Prepaid eSIM is emerging as one of the top choices for many travelers, considering various aspects. When compared to roaming, pocket WiFi, free WiFi, or prepaid physical SIM cards, eSIM addresses the shortcomings of these options and turns them into advantages.

And GIGAGO will reveal to you the conveniences of Dubai eSIM from Etisalat, which is also one of our best-selling products:

  • No need to physically remove or swap SIM cards from your device, thus avoiding the risk of losing the card. Instead, you simply need to download and use the compatible eSIM on your phone.
  • GIGAGO’s prepaid eSIM offers a wide range of diverse packages that cater to various needs. You can choose data-only plans or packages that include both data and call credits.
  • Using a prepaid eSIM of GIGAGO to avoid expensive roaming charges that can accumulate when using your home country’s SIM card.

To learn more details about eSIM plan details, please visit Gigago Dubai eSIM

VII. Which Dubai Mobile Networks Are The Best for Tourists?

When it comes to renowned and reputable network carriers in Dubai, there are 3 prominent names: du, Etisalat, and Virgin Mobile UAE.

CriteriaEtisalatduVirgin Mobile UAE
CoverageBestGreatGood
SpeedSuper fastSuper fastFast
PriceAffordableAffordableAffordable
eSIM availableYesYeYes

1. Etisalat

The coverage of Etisalat in Dubai
The coverage of Etisalat in Dubai. Source: nPerf

Because of a long-standing network carrier and the largest market share holder in Dubai, Etisalat offers a wide range of telecommunications services.These services include prepaid and contract-based subscription plans, high-speed data services spanning 2G, 3G, 4G, and 5G networks or international roaming options

2. du 

The coverage of du in Dubai
The coverage of du in Dubai. Source: nPerf

du is a government-owned cellular company, which makes it a reputable telecommunications enterprise in the market. du also offers similar package plans to Etisalat, while actively expanding its market share to compete with Etisalat in Dubai.

3. Virgin Mobile UAE

Virgin Mobile UAE is a new operator in the market compared to du and Etisalat. Their main product offerings are prepaid packages and value-added services. Their primary target market is the younger generation who are tech enthusiasts and have a good understanding of technology.

►Our Recommendation: We recommend choosing Etisalat for your trip to Dubai. Considering factors such as coverage, speed, pricing, and variety of services, Etisalat holds a significant advantage over the other two network carriers.

IX. How to Use Dubai Prepaid SIM Cards and eSIM

1. Using prepaid Dubai tourist SIM Cards

  • Purchasing a SIM card from official stores, authorized retailers, or distribution partners. Some airports also sell this type of SIM card.
  • After purchasing the SIM card, simply follow the user guide to activate it and insert it into your phone
  •  Restart the device to ensure the network configuration is properly set.
  • Insert the SIM card into your phone and restart the device to check the network configuration.
  • After the SIM card is activated, you can make payment for the desired package on your phone and start using the services provided.

2. Setting up and activating Dubai eSIM

  • Ensure that your device supports eSIM functionality. Not all devices are compatible with eSIM technology, so verify this beforehand.
  • Purchase eSIMs through official online distributors such as GIGAGO.
  • Access the settings on your phone to activate an eSIM
  • Once the setup is complete, your eSIM is ready to use. You can make calls, send messages, and access mobile data using the eSIM network.

X. Conclusion

In summary, there are various ways to connect to the Internet while traveling to Dubai, but not all methods are equally effective. Among the mentioned options, using a SIM card or eSIM for Dubai is the best choice for you.

 If you are planning to visit Dubai, don’t overlook the importance of having internet access and reach out to GIGAGO for advice on the most suitable data package for you.