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Buying SIM Cards in United Arab Emirates

Buying SIM Cards in United Arab Emirates

United Arab Emirates also known as UAE is built by seven different emirates, with most of the country located in the Persian (Arabian) Gulf. The country’s vast geographic landscapes offer something for every tourist, whether they be first timers or experienced travelers. If you want to learn about the country’s contemporary culture the first place you need to visit is the Burj Khalifa which can be found in Dubai. It boasts a number of soaring buildings with marvelous architecture. You can also find here the world’s tallest building and the highest observation deck, which offers a sweeping panoramic view of Dubai. If you want to learn about UAE’s rich history you should consider visiting The Bastakia, the last remaining heritage and history of Dubai and shows how the way of life was centuries ago. If you’re up for an adventure, you should definitely head out to The Desert, which offers various activities from sand boarding, camel terks, and hiking.

Are you excited to see and visit these places? Are you excited to discover more about the United Arab Emirates? We’ll help you get one thing of your mind and give you a definitive guide on buying a SIM card in UAE.

The First Thing You Need To Do

The first step to buying a SIM card actually doesn’t start itself but rather with our cellphones. Why? Most of the time, especially if you buy your phone from a particular service provider you can only use your phone exclusively with that provider hence you’ll need to get unlocked. An unlocked phone means that you can use it with any SIM Card.

It is worth mentioning that though most phones are now readily unlocked depending on its brand and who you bought it from, it’s necessary that you check your phone if it’s locked or unlocked. There’s a simple way of checking if your phone is locked, simply turn off your phone and replace the original SIM Card with the a different SIM card from a different SIM Card provider. If a message such as “Restricted” and “Contact your service provider” your phone is locked. If you can still operate your phone and make calls and texts, good, it means that your phone is unlocked. If it is no need to worry, simply contact your service provider to get it unlocked. If for any reasons (like a lock up period) your service provider declines to unlock your phone, simply seek help from an independent phone store or tech store and ask your phone to be unlocked, this usually costs only a small amount.

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Choosing A SIM Card

In order to buy a SIM card in UAE you will need to show your passport and fill up a registration form before your SIM card gets activated. When it comes to censorship, the country has one of the strictest rules and regulation. If you want to have full access of the internet, we suggest that you download a VPN (Virtual Private Network) in your devices to do so. Another thing worth remembering is that the country is also known for filtering and monitoring all social media platforms, so better be careful of what you post about the country. UAE has two major service providers:

Etisalat

Etisalat is biggest service provider in the country. They offer the SIM card for AED55 called “Wasel” which comes with AED1 worth of credit. You can top this off with several packages: For AED5 you get 100MB worth of data good for one day. For AED10 you get 250MB worth of data good for one day. For AED15 you get 100MB worth of data good for one week. For AED35 you get 500MB worth of data good for one week. For AED50 you get 1GB worth of data good for one week. For AED30 you get 250MB worth of data good for one month. For AED100 you get 1GB worth of data good for one month. For AED150 you get 3GB worth of data good for one month. For AED200 you get 5GB worth of data good for one month. For AED250 you get 7GB worth of data good for one month. For AED300 you get 10GB worth of data good for one month. And for AED450 you get 20GB worth of data good for one month.

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If you’re want packages that can be utilized in other countries, Etisalat offers these packages that is valid in 100 different countries: For AED40 you get 100MB worth of data and 60 minutes of call good for one month. For AED100 you get 1GB worth of data and 100 minutes of call good for one month. For AED150 you get 2GB worth of data and 150 minutes of call good for one month. For AED200 you get 3GB worth of data and 300 minutes of call good for one month.

Du Mobile

Du Mobile is the second largest service provider in the country and is the only competitor of Etisalat. Du Mobile offers two SIM card packages especially catered to tourists. One is “Pay as You Go” which costs AED55 and comes with 20 minutes of international calls. The other called “Tourist Plan” which costs AED75 and comes with 200MB worth of data, 20 minutes of international calls and is good for one week. You can top this off with data packages such as: For AED20 you get 160MB worth of data. For AED50 you get 450MB worth of data. For AED100 you get 1GB worth of data. For AED150 you get 3GB worth of data. For AED200 you get 5GB worth of data. For AED300 you get 10GB worth of data. And for AED500 you get 25GB worth of data.

When it comes to coverage the two service providers have equal strengths and scope and is strongest in major cities. Though there might be weak to none in rural areas especially in the desert.

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Where do I buy one?

Due to the nature of the process (showing your passport and filling up a registration form ) SIM cards are only available in official stores and resellers. This will also give you assistance in setting up the SIM card is readily available, especially if you have limited knowledge of the native language. However top ups can be easily availed everywhere, from independent businesses, convenience stores and supermarkets.

Conclusion

Buying a SIM card in the United Arab Emirates can be a little challenging as options are pretty limited. Remember to prepare your passport upon purchase of the SIM card and do the necessary paper works. You can only do these in official stores, hence it is important that you buy from one as you’ll need to go there anyway, if you buy your SIM card elsewhere. This also ensures the legitimacy of the product and you’ll have the advantage as assistance as it is readily available in the official stores. Packages can be limited, so make sure that you opt for something that will suit all your needs.

Written by Gear Up To Travel

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