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Prepaid SIM card for Arab Emirates: Where to Buy in 2024?

Arab Emirates is a once-in-a-lifetime adventure and you want to make sure you're connected with the best SIM card for this destination.

Brenda Beltrán

January 1, 2024

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Visit Dubai, the City of Gold, take a picture at the Burj Khalifa, and go to the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque! Going to the United Arab Emirates is a once-in-a-lifetime adventure, and you want to ensure you’re always connected. You will need the best prepaid SIM card for this destination.

So get ready because we will tell you everything you need to know about the best SIM card for the United Arab Emirates. You will read about prices, features, advantages, where to buy it, and also about what is an eSIM card? the new era of telecommunications.

eSIM for Arab Emirates

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Where can I buy a SIM card for the Arab Emirates?

When we are talking about a service and its benefits, the first thing we think about is how we can buy it and have it at hand. Prepaid SIM cards have come a long way in the last few years, and now it is easy to find several alternatives for tourists. Each one has its advantages, most of which are cheaper than international roaming or renting pocket wifi. However, you must consider the time and money you want to invest in choosing one option. 

prepaid SIM card Arab Emirates
Tourist using cell phone in the Arab Emirates

Basically, as a traveler visiting the Arab Emirates or any other destination in the world, you have two options to buy a prepaid SIM card. You also have a third option to take, known as eSIM. This is our recommendation as long as you have a compatible phone.

  • Get it from international online stores that offer prepaid SIM cards for the Arab Emirates with international delivery before arriving in the country.
  • Look for physical stores when you arrive at the airport or city.
  • Purchase a virtual SIM card from an online store such as Holafly before or during your trip. You can opt for an Asia SIM card alternative if necessary!

(You may also be interested in the best SIM card for Saudi Arabia)

Buy before you travel

This is your best option for getting mobile internet in the Arab Emirates quickly, cheaply, and hassle-free. Online stores have specialized in offering prepaid SIM cards for tourists for many destinations. They deliver to a large number of countries. You need to locate one that offers SIM cards for your destination. Holafly has an online store with virtual SIM cards for over 190 destinations worldwide. 

Even if you buy an international SIM card in an online store, keep in mind that it will always work under the service of a local operator. Therefore, it is essential to confirm which Arab Emirates operator you will be connected to to guarantee your connection speed and coverage in the country. You should also verify that you have one of the online store’s payment methods and that it delivers to your country. With these points in mind, you can buy a prepaid SIM card before your trip.

Pros of buying a data plan for abroad before traveling

Prepaid physical SIM cards and virtual SIM cards share some benefits when purchased before your trip.

  • Have your prepaid SIM card for your entire trip.

Having the opportunity to sort out your internet connection in the Arab Emirates before your trip will make a lot of things easier during your time there. The online stores allow you to have an international SIM card before and during your entire trip.

  • Mobile internet at your fingertips

Online stores make it very easy to purchase and install a prepaid SIM card for the Arab Emirates. You will not have to go through the registration process or sign contracts as you do when you buy a local SIM card.

  • No language barrier

Remote providers usually have customer service and websites in multiple languages, it will be easier to order what you want this way. Also, their data packages are focused on tourist customers. You will be able to find one for yourself.

Buy your tourist SIM card in the Arab Emirates

It is a less recommended option, but you can also buy a prepaid SIM card locally through telephone operators in the country. These companies have physical stores around the country and even at international airports. To make the purchase, you must go to the nearest physical store. Remember that by purchasing a local SIM card in this way, you must undergo a registration process required by law. In addition, you may not be able to speak the local language, and purchases may take a little longer.


This is a local phone company that offers prepaid SIM cards for tourists. These are called the Visitor line and have several options available. Among the data packages available, we can find options of thirty days of use and 2GB, 4GB, 8GB, or 22.5GB of navigation. An unlimited data option is available, but only for ten days of use. All plans include some minutes for calls to local numbers. Tourists in the country can only purchase these prepaid SIM cards, and the requirement is to be of legal age. It is possible to pre-purchase on their website and then pick it up at the international airport of convenience.


Of all the local options, DU is the mobile operator that offers the most flexibility for prepaid customers to purchase a SIM card. With their Flexi prepaid plan, you can choose various data combinations and call minutes for monthly usage. Each of the combinations will make the plan more or less expensive. There are 2GB, 4GB, 6GB, and 10GB of browsing options to combine with 30, 60, 90, or 120 minutes of local calls. It is also possible to pre-register on their website and then finalize the purchase and installation at the airport you pick up.

Virgin Mobile UAE 

This international company has locations in several countries, including the Arab Emirates, offering tourists SIM card options. These are more expensive than the other carriers but provide more data. Packages of 21GB, 60GB, and unlimited browsing data will be used in 7, 10, 15, and 30 days respectively. There is a last option of unlimited data, which is more expensive and to be used in only ten days. In all versions, the plans include minutes for local and international calls. There is also a daily high-speed data limit, after which the speed is reduced until the next day.

How much does a prepaid SIM card for internet in the Arab Emirates cost?

As you may have noticed, there are several local mobile operators in the Arab Emirates, and each one has a catalog aimed at tourist customers. Each of the plans, in turn, has configurable options which may cause the price to change. Considering this, there is a price range from $40 to $80 for a prepaid SIM card. As you can see, telecommunications are not cheap here, but buying your SIM card is still an option once you arrive.

Want to know about the best SIM card for Oman?

Holafly eSIM for Arab Emirates: a great alternative

Unlimited data eSIM for Dubai
Unlimited data eSIM for UAE from Holafly

We have reached a new era, and nowadays, the best solution for tourists is usually to buy a virtual SIM card for the Arab Emirates. Online stores like Holafly offer this service for the country and 190 other destinations worldwide. The eSIMs are entirely digital, so when you finish the purchase in the Holafly store, you will receive your eSIM immediately in your email. The installation process after having the eSIM is almost immediate and does not require physical installation. 

The phone industry is moving to this type of technology, and it is now much more common to find eSIM-compatible devices. Holafly offers virtual SIM cards for Arab Emirates with excellent coverage and unlimited data plans throughout the country thanks to their agreements with Etisalat, which you can verify in their Technical Specs. There is no doubt that whenever it is available to you, you should buy a virtual SIM card from Holafly for your next trip.

Advantages and disadvantages of Virtual SIM cards


  • eSIMs are easier to buy

All you need is internet access, and you can purchase your virtual SIM card wherever you are. In Holafly’s online store, you can solve your mobile internet for the Arab Emirates before or during your trip to the country in just minutes.

  • All recommend customer service.

In addition to offering 24/7 customer service, you will also find that multilingual customer service is available. The online store can also be used in more than five languages to facilitate shopping for all types of tourists.

  • Unlimited data plans

One of the best advantages of Holafly’s eSIM is that it offers unlimited data on all plans. With this you can use social networks, edit videos or use applications without having to limit your data consumption. You can also share 500 MB per day with other devices via hotspot.

  • If you run out, you can renew it.

When you purchase a virtual SIM card with Holafly, you will be able to top up your service in case you need it. Once you have consumed 90% of your service, a notification will be sent to your email along with a link to renew if you wish.


  • Reduced Compatibility and in the process of incorporation

The virtual SIM card is a new technology, so it is not yet incorporated into all mobile devices. It is important that you check if your phone can use them before buying one. To help you, we leave a list of compatible phones.

How much does a Holafly eSIM card for the Arab Emirates cost?

Currently, the Arab Emirates eSIM only has one plan available:

Days of UseMobile DataPrice (USD)
1 DayUnlimited data6 USD
5 DaysUnlimited data21 USD
10 DaysUnlimited data37 USD
15 DaysUnlimited data51 USD
20 DaysUnlimited data62 USD
Table 1. Price comparison of the different eSIM plans of Holafly

Recommendations for choosing the best SIM card for the Arab Emirates

  • Don’t buy your SIM card at the airport because you might have problems communicating.
  • If you are not using your phone, turn off your data plan. This way, you will avoid consuming your data quickly. 
  • Download apps, games, and videos before activating your data plan so you don’t waste your data quickly.
  • Make sure your cell phone has unlocked bands so that it can connect to other networks.

Alright, friends, we have reached the end of this article. Hopefully, this information will help you pick the SIM card for the Arab Emirates that best suits your needs. There is no doubt about Holafly. Your experience will be unforgettable. You won’t regret it.

Frequent questions about the best SIM card for the Arab Emirates

How much does a SIM card cost in the Arab Emirates? 

It depends on the number of days you choose. There are similar data packages to use when it comes to choosing the right prepaid eSIM option for Singapore.

How can I have the internet in the Arab Emirates?

You can connect to public Wifi networks in parks or cafes. But, it is better if you have a SIM card or eSIM; this way, you will be connected all the time.  

What if I have a problem with my SIM card?

Depending on the operator you choose, your problem can be solved. If you get the Holafly virtual SIM card, you will have 24/7 chat service and support. 

Which are the main operators in the Arab Emirates?

Etisalat and Du are the most popular operators in this country. The Holafly SIM cards use the Etisalat network.