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Prepaid SIM card for Dubai: Where to Buy in 2024?

A Dubai SIM card will allow you to enjoy excellent internet connectivity during your trip to this city in the Arab Emirates.

Leoneska Ruiz

January 1, 2024

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Dubai is located in a remote part of the planet, so one of the things you can’t leave out is how to stay connected to the internet. The good news is that today there are many alternatives you can go for. At present, it is possible to buy a SIM card for Dubai even before you arrive at your destination!

This city is an ultra-modern metropolis with a luxurious lifestyle, views full of skyscrapers, and eye-catching nightlife. Dubai is the destination for many tourists looking to visit the shopping capital of the Middle East.

In addition to SIM cards, you may think of using international roaming or even buying a pocket WiFi for your visit to the city. However, these two options, besides being very expensive, may be impractical. And so we want to introduce you to the options that represent the evolution of the SIM card, known as virtual SIM card or eSIM. You will find all the information you need throughout this article. Continue reading!

Unlimited data eSIM for Dubai

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Where can I buy a prepaid SIM card for Dubai?

As we mentioned at the beginning, if you plan to visit the city, you can buy your SIM card and get your own Dubai internet without depending on extra devices or services. In case you didn’t know, telecommunication in the Arab Emirates has become the most advanced technology in recent years. Therefore, it is easy to find prepaid SIM cards for Dubai providers for tourists and travelers. They can even deliver your chip directly to your address.

Tourists using a cell phone in Dubai. Source:

Overall, we can divide the alternatives you have to buy your SIM card for Dubai into the providers that can deliver it before you start your visit and those that can do it once you have arrived in the city.

To these two options, we want to add one more alternative: the eSIM for Dubai. In addition to being delivered before arriving at the destination, you get it almost instantly. So that you can get to know this provider better, we will provide you with additional information:

  • You can purchase your Dubai SIM card before your trip starts through online stores with worldwide delivery.
  • You can do it through local physical stores in the city of the operators working in the Arab Emirates.
  • Finally, if your cellphone is compatible, you can opt for the eSIM for Dubai that online stores like Holafly offer. 

Buy before you travel.

As we anticipated, it is possible to buy your Dubai prepaid SIM card for tourists before your trip to the city starts. This can be done thanks to the many online stores that offer this service to their customers. For tourists, this is usually the best way to stay connected, mainly because of the ease of the purchase process. In our opinion, online stores have data plans more focused on tourists than local operators, so in addition to time, you can save money.

It is essential to know the coverage area that they offer, the internet speed connection, and if there are any data consumption policy packages. Finally, you should consider that being a physical SIM card, once you make the purchase, the chip will have to be sent to your address, and this, besides the wait time, may also come with an extra fee.

If you want a quick solution, you can count on the virtual eSIM for Dubai, which does not depend on shipping. You will receive them seconds after your purchase through your email.

<Get to know all about the SIM Card for Sudan>

Pros of buying a data plan for abroad before traveling

  • At the time of arrival.

One of the obvious advantages is that you can have an internet connection and remain in contact thanks to the Dubai SIM card that you will activate when you get off the plane. So, you can order a cab, let your friends and family know you arrived safely, or look for an address without any problems.

  • Get ahead of situations.

As you make the purchase and set up before you arrive in Dubai, you can resolve any issues with your phone or SIM card from home and not when you are already in a city you may not know.

  • Available for multiple destinations.

There is a lot to do in Dubai, but if your trip takes you beyond the borders of the Arab Emirates with these prepaid SIM cards, you can opt for packages with coverage for entire continents!

Buy your tourist SIM card in Dubai.

The operators that work in the city are Etisalat and Du, offering prepaid services that tourists can buy. SIM cards from these operators can be purchased in their physical stores throughout the city and even in the main airports if you are over 18. You can also pre-purchase on their websites and pick up the physical chip at the airport where you land.

Like many other things in Dubai, the internet and telephone connection are at their best. The city is considered to have the fastest cellular download speed in the world. Their service is excellent but can also be expensive.


It is one of the pioneer cellular carriers in the Arab Emirates with coverage in Dubai, offering packages called Visitor Line. These packages have options of 10 or 28 days of use and data packages ranging from 2 GB to 22.5 GB. There is also an unlimited data option for use in 10 or 28 days for a higher cost. The plans include minutes to local numbers and a new Dubai SIM card in all versions. Finally, it is only possible to buy a maximum of two Visitors’ Lines per passport. Plans can be auto-renewed as long as you have enough credit.


Another option to buy a tourist Dubai SIM card is through Du. The operator offers a Free Tourist SIM that you can apply for on their website. It will be given to you by Dubai Immigration Officer at passport control. You will need your passport information, and the SIM card will include 1 GB, valid for 24 hours. After that, you must sign up for one of the available packages ranging from 2 GB to 20 GB to be used within 28 days. They also have an unlimited data option but only valid for seven or fourteen days.

All plans also include 30 minutes of local calls, and you can check your data consumption through their app.

How much does a prepaid SIM card for internet in Dubai cost?

It is no secret that Dubai is an expensive city, and as well as enjoying the fastest internet in the world, their rates are also higher. The cost of the plans with any of the operators ranges from $10 to $85 approximately. The cost will depend mainly on the amount of data they offer. The durations are always 28 or 10 days. We would like to remind you that by the policy of both companies, you can only buy a maximum of two Dubai SIM cards per passport

Something to consider is that if you do not have a credit or debit card with 3D security, you will have to pay in local currency. Finally, we recommend you pre-order your prepaid SIM card so that you only have to pick it up once you arrive in Dubai. If this is not the case, you should use the maps to locate the physical stores available on the operators’ websites, make the purchase and register there.

Unlimited data eSIM card for Dubai

eSIM for Dubai
eSIM to get an internet connection in Dubai. Source: Holafly

We have already told you all the information so that you can choose how you buy your SIM card for Dubai. However, before we finish, we would like to recommend you the third option that we mentioned at the beginning of this article. We are talking about virtual SIM cards or simply eSIMs. These are the evolution of SIM cards and have the advantage of being completely digital. This makes getting and using them a very simple task. 

To be able to use one of these eSIMs, you must make sure you have a compatible phone. Then, the purchase process is straightforward. In this case, we recommend you go to the official Holafly store, search for your travel destination, and choose the plan you want.

With Holafly, you can make your purchase without having to sign up or subscribe to a contract. So, the process will only take a few minutes, and then your eSIM will arrive in your email.

Advantages and disadvantages of Virtual SIM cards

If you are eager to know more about virtual SIM cards, here are the advantages and disadvantages, so you will know if it is the ideal option for you:


  • Quick purchase and activation processes.

Purchasing and activating an eSIM is easy. You buy from an online store like Holafly and wait a few seconds for a QR code to arrive in your email. With this, you can activate your eSIM and connect whenever you want.

  • Get an eSIM anywhere in the world.

No matter where you are, you can always buy an eSIM through an online store, and it will arrive directly on your cellphone. There is no delivery cost, and you don’t have to wait more than a few minutes.

  • You can renew your package.

Thanks to the top-up service, you can extend your data plan for more days by repurchasing a package for the same destination. This will be activated automatically without installing a new eSIM on your phone.

  • Unlimited data available

In any available options, you will have unlimited data as long as you are within the days of use. Even in regional options with coverage in multiple countries, like the eSIM for Asia travel.


  • Limited compatibility with cell phones

The main disadvantage of eSIM cards is their limited compatibility. Being new tech, many older cell phones do not offer it, so before you buy, check your cell phone supports eSIMs.

How much does a tourist eSIM for Dubai cost?

The prices of the eSIM for Dubai may vary depending on different factors, such as the provider you purchase it from, the number of days and data plan you choose, the coverage offered with the eSIM and the different benefits they offer. That is why it will be important to compare the different providers to choose the best option.

Virtual SIM card for travel in Dubai

Holafly offers five data plans in its eSIM for Dubai. With this, you can have unlimited data, ideal for your travel. The price is as follows:

DataDays of validityPrice (USD)
Unlimited data5 days$19
Unlimited data7 days$27
Unlimited data10 days$34
Unlimited data15 days$47
Unlimited data20 days$54
Table 1. Holafly eSIM for Dubai rates.

Frequently asked questions about SIM cards for Dubai.

If you still have doubts about how to acquire a SIM card for Dubai or related to how to get internet while traveling, here are some answers to some frequently asked questions that travelers often have.

Do I need a sim card in Dubai?

No, it is not completely necessary to have a SIM card for Dubai. However, if you want to enjoy good internet connectivity without having to spend a huge amount of money, then this could be an excellent option.

What other alternatives can I get to have internet in Dubai?

Currently, there are some options to have internet connectivity while traveling. Options include international roaming from your operator or renting a Pocket WiFi, but these are very expensive. Also, you can look for free WiFi hotspots once you arrive in Dubai, but these are often unstable and insecure. That is why we recommend the virtual SIM card for Dubai as the best option, as it is easy to acquire and also very cheap.

Can I buy a SIM card at Dubai airport?

Yes, if you are over 18 years old and have your passport with you, once you pass immigration at Dubai International Airport, you will find local operator stores where you can buy a tourist SIM card.

Is the internet slow in Dubai?

Dubai has some of the fastest internet in the world. So if your internet is slow during your trip, it may be due to your provider’s services, whether it’s because they don’t offer coverage from the best operator in the country or some other reason. So if you want to enjoy a fast internet connection at all times, with Holafly’s eSIM, you won’t miss a beat!