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Best Dubai Tourist Sim Card Guide 2024

30th December, 2020 Updated

One crucial travel necessity in a foreign country is a SIM card and choosing the best SIM card can make all the difference to your holiday trip. Our best Dubai Tourist SIM Card Guide 2024 will explain to you the different options and how you can choose the best SIM card while considering your requirements.



Airalo has figured out an idea that is bound to make communication for travellers easy as eating cake. Most smartphones now come with an eSim which is embedded in the device. Although this eSim exists, very few are aware of how to set it up and use it. This is where Airalo will help as they are the first eSIM store in the world that sells local and international SIMs that don't take long to set up.

Buy now airalo

How Airalo works?

Click here to view the eSIM packages on offer for Dubai. After you decide which plan to buy, make the payment through credit card, PayPal or in-app currency known as Airmoney. You will then be given a QR code. This code can then be scanned by any devices that have built-in eSIMs. This can be done by visiting Settings and then clicking on eSIM menu.

After the QR code has been scanned, the new eSIM profile will be downloaded into the device for that specific destination. Network connections will become active after you enter the country for which you purchased the eSIM. A single device can hold up to 50 different eSIMs making it possible to travel to different destinations and keep changing your email for instant coverage.

If you are buying an Airalo eSIM for Dubai, you need to select United Arab Emirates.

select United Arab Emirates

Pros of Using Airalo

The biggest pro of using Airalo is that it provides easy access to international eSIMs for an affordable price which doesn't take much long to set up. An US eSIM can be set up in a matter of 5 minutes.


Airport wifi & Getting a Sim in Dubai airport

You can access free Wi-fi at Dubai International airport (DXB) and Al Maktoum International airport (DWC) by following these steps

  • Go to Settings tab in your phone and turn on the Wi-fi.
  • Under "Public Networks" you will see "DXB free Wi-fi". Click on it to connect
  • Go to the web browser and click on "Get online now" to experience high-speed WiFi for free at DXB.

Free Sim cards for Dubai tourist

On arrival at Dubai Airport, tourists can get a free SIM card with free talk time and data.

Source: Gulf News

How the free Sim card works

To be able to register your free SIM card you need to be 18 years or older. Your passport and a valid UAE visit visa need to be shown for identification and verification purposes. The SIM has a one-month validity and is preloaded with 3 Flexi minutes and 20 MB data.

To activate the free SIM, insert SIM card into phone, dial *122# and follow the instructions.

Where to get it

It can be obtained at the Passport control counter before the baggage collection area. Travelers from any flight can take this sim.


The main telecom service providers

Dubai has only 2 telecom service providers, Du and Etisalat. Majority of tourists staying in or near Dubai have reported no difference in signal strength, coverage or speed between the 2 networks. If you want to wander the untravelled paths then Etisalat is the best prepaid SIM card.

Where to find a SIM card at Dubai airport

There is one stall each for both Du and Etisalat at all of the 3 Dubai Airport(DXB) terminals.


  • Terminal 1 Arrivals. Straight ahead, slightly to the left, after exiting customs.
  • Terminal 2 Arrivals. To the left, further down, after exiting customs.
  • Terminal 3 Arrivals. To the left, after exiting customs


  • Terminal 1 Arrivals. To the right after exiting customs.
  • Terminal 2 Arrivals. To the left, further down, after exiting customs.
  • Terminal 3 Arrivals. To the left, after exiting customs.

SIM cards can also be purchased from commercial centres and shopping malls where the mobile network representatives will assist you.

Packages available for tourist

Du offers free sim and below are the packages

Pay (AED/ USD) What you get Validity
AED 55 / 15 USD 500 MB - 20 Flexible Minutes 7 day validity
AED 75 / 21 USD 2 GB - 40 Flexible Minutes 14 day validity
AED 110 / 30 USD 3.5 GB - 50 Flexible Minutes 14 day validity
How to activate Du SIM?
  • Insert the SIM into your phone.
  • Dial *122# (and keep your passport on hand).
  • Enter your passport number, country name and date of arrival when requested.
  • If you’re eligible and the details you entered are correct, you’ll get a notification that your activation request is in process, as well as a confirmation SMS with your assigned mobile number once it’s active.
  • Once you receive your confirmation SMS, dial 135 to select a language and start enjoying our services

Etisalat offers free sim and below are the packages

Pay (AED/ USD) What you get Validity
AED 125 / 35 USD 2 GB – 40 Flexible Minutes 14 day validity
AED 200 / 55 USD 7.5 GB - 175 Flexible Minutes 14 day validity


Malls & attractions wifi

Dubai has numerous Malls, attractions and places where free Wi-fi is offered. Listed below are fe places you can enjoy free connectivity.

Mall of the Emirates

The Mall of Emirates is not just a glamorous shopping spot, it is also an amazing entertainment hub. More than 630 retail outlets including International lifestyle and fashion brands give you a wide option to shop from. Some of the mandatory to-dos include visiting SKI Dubai and Magic Planet. You can also try Yalla! Bowling or watch something at Dreamscape VR VOX Cinema.

To use free wi-fi choose #Free_Mall_Wifi from the list of available networks. If you need more help, the mall's numerous customer service desks can assist you.

Dubai mall

Another favourite of locals and tourists, Dubai mall has numerous luxury and retail outlets. It also connects to two 5 star hotels, Address Boulevard and Address Dubai Mall. You can choose “@Dubai Mall by Emaar” to access free internet.

Dubai festival city mall

This mall has numerous retail options from luxury brands to reputed lifestyle brands which is why it is frequented by tourists and locals. The Mall's captivating laser show known as IMAGINe is a must-watch. If you're a movie junkie then watch a Hollywood or Bollywood blockbuster at NOVO cinema. Free WiFi can be used while shopping in the mall.

Some of the other malls in Dubai with free Wi-Fi

  • WAFI Mall Dubai
  • Dubai Marina Mall
  • City Centre Mirdiff
  • City Centre Deira
  • The Springs Souk
  • Souk Madinat Jumeirah


Abu Dhabi sim card for tourist

Abu Dhabi international airport also has Du and Etisalat counters. Travellers landing in Abu Dhabi can purchase a local Du/ Etisalat SIM. They can also purchase from a range of pre-paid or post-paid packages, smart devices and e-Life packages.


  • Du Abu Dhabi Airport T1
  • Abu Dhabi Airport, Terminal 1 Arrivals, Abu Dhabi
  • Timing: 24/7


  • Etislat Abu Dhabi Airport T1
  • Abu Dhabi Airport, Terminal 1 Arrivals, Abu Dhabi
  • Timing: 24/7


International sim card for UAE

Here is our round-up of 2021's 7 top International SIM card providers. With our comparison of their features, benefits and costs, you can easily decide which of these providers will best suit your requirements.




  • Triple-punched (Standard, Micro and Nano) prepaid International SIM card.
  • Free SIM, only pay for top-up
  • Variety of Call, Data and SMS plans to choose from.
  • Top-up doesn't expire if SIM is used at least once per year.
  • Virtual Numbers Service for a monthly fee with added phone numbers (free UK and USA numbers) for over 50 different countries.
  • Card works in 200 countries
  • Receive free incoming calls in 118 countries


  • Reduce roaming costs by 95%
  • Use Virtual Numbers Service to roam with current mobile number without roaming charges.
  • Free UK(+44) and USA(+1) mobile number.

Purchase from data-only packages offering up to 4 GB or voice+ data bundles covering more than 100 countries. You can also top-up with only credit. Prices of packages and rates for data, texts and calls vary depending on the country.

See this page for up-to-date bundle prices for each country. Luckily, there’s a nice little rate calculator on this page.




  • Prepaid International SIM fitting standard, micro and nano card slots.
  • 3 varieties of SIM; Universal, Expedition and Europe & more.
  • Comes with $10 credit for data, texts and voice.
  • All three cards come with free 2 numbers; an Estonian (+372) European number and Australian, Canadian, UK or US number.
  • Add unlimited Personal Extra Numbers from more than 60 countries.
  • Mobile data as low as 20c/MB with daily, weekly and monthly packages available.

Universal SIM


  • The European number can receive free incoming calls in 162 countries.
  • Coverage in more than 200 countries.
  • Voicemail service with free email delivery.

Expedition SIM


  • Ideal for frequent travelers who require good data coverage.
  • Offers internet coverage in more than 170 countries.
  • Free incoming calls in 130 countries

Europe & more SIM


  • Ideal for individuals traveling within Europe.
  • Coverage in 70 countries
  • Direct dial calling from 45 countries
  • Low calling costs from Canada and US.


  • Cut up 85% on International roaming charges.
  • Outgoing calls as low as 25c/Mon
  • free global concierge service to assist you with reservations, language translation, roadside assistance and more.
  • 45Extras with all the cards include a Wi-Fi calling app for iOS and Android devices, 24/7 live technical support

To see more information about rates for data usage, calling and texting in different countries see this page.




  • Prepaid International SIM card working in over 170 countries.
  • Different plans for calls, SMS and Data.
  • Triple-punched SIM cards comes with an Estonian (+372) European number.
  • Card costs €10 and pay extra for credit or data.
  • Free incoming calls in over 135 countries.
  • Incoming text messages are free in all countries.
  • SIM card will remain active as long as it is topped-up at least once every 18 months.
  • Prepaid Data and credit plans are available.


  • Reduce roaming costs by 85%

countries are categorised into A, B and C. Plans for countries in group A are cheapest and plans for group C countries are the most expensive.

You can check the rates for calling, texting and data usage in any country here, and the prepaid data plans on this page.




  • Coverage across 210 countries over 340 different networks.
  • Triple-punched SIM cards comes with an Estonian (+372) European number
  • Unused credit and call time valid for 18 months.
  • Rates as low as $0.25 /MB for pay as you use Data.
  • Money saving data plans with validity of 30 days.
  • Costs $19 with $10 credit included


  • Reduce roaming costs by 90%
  • Free incoming calls in 135+ countries.
  • Free incoming messages in all countries.

To learn more about rates for calls, data and texts in the countries you plan to visit you can use the rate calculator.


Established in 2009, KeepGo offers a Smartwatch Data SIM card and a Lifetime Data SIM Card.

Keep Go

Features of Lifetime Data SIM

  • Triple-punched SIM
  • Only for data usage can't make calls or SMS.
  • Costs 49 USD with 1GB data.
  • Provides coverage in 110 countries.
  • Same cost for data plans regardless of travelling country. Choose from 500 MB ($14) to 10 GB ($165), with 1GB ($26), 3GB ($61) and 5GB ($88) plans
  • Data plans expire within a year unless you recharge and extend it for another year.

Features of Smartwatch SIM card

  • A data SIM ideal to connect your SmartWatch to 2G or 3G networks across over 110 countries.
  • costs $10 with 5MB of data included
  • Choose from 3 data plans with the largest being of 3GB

Established in 2009, KeepGo offers a Smartwatch Data SIM card and a Lifetime Data SIM Card.



  • Triple-punched International SIM offering data coverage in over 120 countries.
  • To use: purchase X and download the GigSky smart app to activate the SIM.
  • Data plans range from packages offering 300 MB to 5GB (some countries the maximum Plans are for 1GB)
  • Choose from 2 types of data plans:
    • Regional plans for Asia, Europe, North America, etc.
    • Non-regional plans for individual countries

You can view the latest rates for the regional data plans on this page and for the non-regional plans here.




  • International SIM offering Voice calls, data and SMS.
  • No SIM purchase required.
  • Purchase a special sticker (cost $ 29.99) to stick over your original SIM card and convert it to a prepaid International SIM.
  • Download app to operate the SIM
  • Can also buy a normal SIM for $9.99
  • Free US (+1) number and ability to purchase extra foreign numbers for over 50 different countries for a fee between $3 to $12.50 a month.
  • Free WhatsApp data for 30 days from the date of purchase.
  • Pay-as-you-use rates for data start as low as $0.15/MB
  • Unlimited data plans are available in 125+ countries from $7.99 a day


  • Reduce roaming charges in 200 and more countries.

You can view the company’s data plans and check pay-as-you-go rates for texts, calls and data in any country on their website.


Photography guide in Dubai

You now have internet access and can visit your social media handles. This doesn't allow you to photograph all that you see and post it. You may fall into deep trouble by going against some rule. Check below our Photography guide in Dubai

Source : Cyber Laws

Article 21 of the UAE cybercrimes law

This law states that photographing another person or invading their privacy by saving, copying, transferring, disclosing or creating electronic photos is a punishable act.Punishments for this offense include imprisonment for minimum 6 months and a fine not less than AED 150,000 and not more than 500,000 or either of these two punishments depending on the severity of the offense.

Article 378 of the UAE Penal Code, Federal Law Number 3 of 1987

This law mentions that photographing someone without his or her permission is considered an invasion of privacy and is illegal in the country. The article also mentions that if anyone publishes news, comments or pictures relating to family life or private secrets will be punished even if they are true. The punishment will be either or both of the following depending on the severity of the act. Detention for a period not more than 1 year and/or a fine not more than 10,000 AED.

Article 43 of the Federal Law Number 7 of 2002

This law prevents the act of photographing another individual without obtaining their permission and publishing that kind of picture publicly on any social media website. The article has a few exceptions:

  • In incidents that have publicly taken place;
  • If the photograph is related to official or public characters; or national or international celebrities; or
  • If the competent public authorities have permitted such publication for the purpose of public welfare; with the provision that the exhibition or circulation of such photograph, is not prejudicial to the status of the person appearing in the photograph.


Offensive language and social media

Offensive language

Article 373 of the Penal Code, clearly mentions that a fine(not exceeding 10,000 AED) and detention for a period not more than a year will be imposed on any individual who disgraces or insults any individual publicly without attributing any particular act to the defamed party. A fine not more than 20,000 AED or detention for not more than 2 years will be imposed if:

  • The abuse injures the reputation of families OR
  • Intended to achieve an illegal purpose OR
  • Abuse of a public official or an individual incharge of public service during, because of, or on the occasion of performing his duty or service.
  • Article 374 of the Penal code also imposes a punishment of detention for not more than 6 months or a fine not more than 5,000 AED for individuals using abuse or slander over the telephone or face to face with the victim and in the presence of a third party.

    Source: Gulf News

Social media

Social media is governed by UAE's Cyber and Penal law. If a complaint is made under this section against a user, they can incur a hefty fine. It is highly advised for social media users to adhere to all of UAE's conduct guidelines on social media. Invasion of privacy is punishable under the Penal code and the Cyber Crimes Law, this includes not disclosing any private information that belongs to another individual, example your employer. The legal consequences could be temporary jail time and fine(Article 4). This also includes taking part in discussions that delve into another individual's confidential details



Yes you can. For more information refer to the section in which the packages and the location is explained.

If you were on visitor visa when you got the Du SIM and have now converted to a residence visa, update your visa and Emirates ID details to DU and they will make it a permanent SIM.

So far you can’t buy a UAE sim online before arriving. However, you can buy a SIM upon arrival at all airports in UAE including Dubai international airport.

If you haven't been using your Etisalat SIM for 3 consecutive months, you will be charged 10 AED for every 3 months of not use if you want to have a lifetime validity. If there is no balance of 10 AED, your line will be disconnected and the number retained for a duration of 12 months. Within this 12 month period you can start reusing the line of you recharge and start using. If no usage during this 12 month duration, the line will be deactivated and it cannot be revived again

Please visit the nearest Du branch immediately