Use Cell Phone In Dubai for Travelers 2024: How To Do It Conveniently?

For your trip to Dubai, an ideal cell phone would be one with 24/7 internet connectivity. This keeps you connected to the country and allows instant sharing of experiences with your loved ones. Let’s explore how to use cell phone in Dubai in this article.

Use cellphone in Dubai

I. Highlights of Phone Compatibility, Frequencies and Networks in Dubai

Here are some notable features of Phone Compatibility, Frequencies, and Networks in Dubai:

1. Phone Compatibility

  • Dubai operates on GSM and LTE networks, theefore being compatible with most global phones
  • Unlocked phones bought abroad or from local providers are compatible in Dubai
  • Dual SIM phones are popular in Dubai, so users can have multiple numbers on one device

Note: To use your cell phone in Dubai, you will need to get a local SIM card from a Dubai SIM provider or get an international SIM card. The local SIM will give you a local phone number and access to the local cellular network. However, if you use your existing phone number while in Dubai, you can check for your network carrier about international roaming options.

2. Frequencies

  • Dubai uses these frequency bands: GSM 900/1800 MHz, LTE Bands 1/3/7/28/40/66
  • 3G operates at 2100 MHz
  • 4G LTE commonly uses frequency bands like 800 MHz, 1800 MHz, and 2600 MHz.

3. Networks

  • Etisalat and du are the main telecom providers in Dubai
  • Roaming and Wi-Fi in Dubai can be convenient but expensive and limited in coverage

II. Use Cell Phone in Dubai – Will My Phone Work In Dubai?

Yes, GSM-compatible phones work in Dubai, but make sure they are unlocked for different networks. Non-GSM phones may still work if they support CDMA or LTE. With your unlocked phone getting a SIM card in Dubai is very straightforward.

Your cell phone can work in Dubai
Your cell phone can work in Dubai

Here is detailed information about the specific bands and frequencies used by mobile networks in Dubai:

Operator2G/GSM (MHz)3G/UMTS (MHz)4G/LTE (MHz)5G NR (n-Bands)
Etisalat900/18002100800/1800/2600n78, n41
Du (Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company)900/18002100800/1800/2600n78, n41
Virgin Mobile UAE (Operates on Du’s network)900/18002100800/1800/2600n78, n41
Swyp (Youth brand by Etisalat)900/18002100800/1800/2600n78, n41

Our recommendation: Ensure your phone supports the required frequency bands for connectivity in Dubai.

III. Do I Need An International Plan In Dubai?

International Data Plan
International Data Plan

Yes, you can use Wi-Fi as an alternative, but it’s important to consider its limitations, such as the potential risk of data theft and slower connection speeds due to high user demand.  We recommend you have an international plan in Dubai because it can provide you with several benefits:

  • Save money on international calls and texts compared to roaming charges.
  • Offers affordable data rates for staying connected abroad, avoiding high data roaming fees. 
  • Allow keeping your home phone number while traveling, making communication easier without the need for a new number.
  • Offer flexible options to suit your usage and travel duration.

IV. What Are Options To Use Cellphones In Dubai For Tourists?

Here are some options you can consider to use cellphone in Dubai: eSIM Plan, SIM Card and Pocket Wifi

1. eSIM Plan for Dubai

eSIM Plan for Dubai - option to use cell phone in Dubai
eSIM Plan for Dubai

This is one of the most convenient options widely used by travelers when they want to use cellphone in Dubai.

Suitable for: Individuals who have eSIM-compatible devices and prefer a digital SIM card solution for their cellphone.

Where to buy eSIM for Dubai: We recommend to purchase eSIMs directly from authorized distributors of reputable brands like Etisalat, such as GIGAGO

Pros:

  • Allow switching between network operators without physical SIM cards, ideal for frequent travelers and those requiring network flexibility.
  • Save money on roaming charges by switching to local operators with affordable plans, avoiding expensive international fees while traveling
  • Provide a simple and easy setup process with QR code scanning or activation through a mobile app

Cons:

  • Some devices do not support eSIM, limiting its use for users without compatible devices

2. International SIM card for Dubai

Sim Card Plan for Dubai - option to use cell phone in Dubai
Sim Card Plan for Dubai

Using a SIM card is a practical option to consider for enabling cell phone usage in Dubai.

Suitable for: People with a carrier-unlocked phone who want to stay connected while abroad

Where to buy SIM card for Dubai: Mobile network providers, convenience stores, or online retailers,…

Pros:

  • Compatible with most mobile devices, including phones and tablets..
  • Widely available for easy purchase everywhere.

Cons:

  • SIM cards are small and can be easily lost or damaged
  • Activating a new SIM card involves contacting the provider, providing personal information, and waiting for activation, which can be time-consuming.

3. Pocket WiFi

Pocket WiFi - option to use cell phone in Dubai
Pocket WiFi

Pocket WiFi is also one of the top three choices for you when traveling to Dubai.

Suitable for: Travelers to Dubai who need internet connectivity across multiple devices or travel in groups .

Where to buy Pocket WiFi for Dubai: Dubai International Airport or Kitmytrip provider  Pros:

  • Portable, providing internet access on the go.
  • Enable multiple device connections without requiring separate data plans.

Cons:

  • May require frequent recharging or a power bank due to varying battery life for continuous use.
  • Weak or no coverage areas can result in slow internet speeds and connectivity issues.

V. Will My Local Network Work In Dubai?

Will my Local Network work in Dubai
Local Network in Dubai

Yes, chances are your local network will work in Dubai, because many mobile network operators have international roaming agreements with operators in other countries. This allows their customers to use cell phone in Dubai and access data services while traveling abroad.

However, using your phone in another country can lead to high roaming charges. It’s crucial to be cautious with your usage to avoid an unexpectedly large bill at the end of your trip.

VI. Gigago eSIM – An Alternative To Get Internet In Dubai With Your Cell Phone

Gigago eSIM – An Alternative To Get Internet In Dubai With Your Cell Phone
Gigago eSIM – An Alternative To Get Internet In Dubai With Your Cell Phone

eSIM is a popular and highly recommended option for you to use cell phone in Dubai. It has many benefits that make it a worthwhile choice:

  • Easy to buy and set up (no physical SIM card is needed). Just download the eSIM profile for hassle-free activation.
  • Provide flexible plans from network operators, suiting your data needs, duration, and budget.
  • Can use both your local SIM card and eSIM at the same time without having to physically switch SIM cards.

Which Dubai eSIM plan should you choose for your trip?

For complete support from start to finish in purchasing and utilizing eSIM, consider contacting GIGAGO, the eSIM provider of Etisalat

For Dubai, Gigago offers multiple data plan options, starting from 1 GB for 7 days with . What is great about Gigago’s Dubai eSIM is that its plans’ costs are diversifying, varying between . Thus, it does not matter how Internet users you are and how long your trip is in Dubai, there is always an option for you with Gigago.

VII. Extra Tips To Use Cell Phone in Dubai

Here are some extra tips for you to use cell phone in Dubai:

  • Contact your mobile network provider to ask about roaming options, fees, and coverage in Dubai before your trip
  • Download offline maps and essential apps before your trip. They can be used for navigation and accessing information without an internet connection.
  • Track your data usage to stay within your plan’s limits and avoid extra charges. 
  • To limit data consumption, disable automatic app updates, turn off background data, and maximize Wi-Fi usage.

VIII. Conclusion

It’s important to learn how to use cell phone in Dubai before your trip. By following the provided information, not only can you find the right options that suit your device, but it also ensures a fulfilling and meaningful journey.