The most frequent question we've been asked by newcomers and tourist's is regarding mobile subscriptions and sim cards. And while we have come to the understanding that many things about being new in Dubai is difficult, this is not. However, there are a few price differences and ease of use you should take into consideration.

A quick sim fix

Upon arrival at DBX you will find kiosks from Etisalat, Du and Virgin Mobile which all sell sim cards that doesn't require an emirates ID. 

From any of the mentioned providers, your number/sim card will be valid for 3 months and if you buy a package for 2 weeks, you are free to update your package after that with calls, texts and data.


This can be done in the kiosks found in most shopping malls and you are also able to recharge your minutes in most supermarkets. Ask the cashier.

As part of the 'Connect with happiness' project you will now receive a complimentary sim card from Du when you arrive in Dubai. This applies to travellers with transit visa, visit visa, visa on arrival, and GCC citizens.

Long lasting sim card

Are you staying for more than 3 months but not the proud owner of an emirates ID? Some providers will require that you get a new sim card for a new period of 3 months which means you will have to change your phone number.

Virgin Mobile - our choice

So, for the long-timers, we have found, that Virgin Mobile is our preferred sim provider. And here is why:

  • you can order your sim card online and have it delivered directly to your preferred location

  • they have a number of shops where you can set up your plan

  • you can keep your number/sim for more than 3 months

  • you can transfer your current number from any provider

  • you can sign up for a long-term plan from the get go, without having your emirates ID, that will save you money

  • they have an app where you can adjust your plan and increase your minutes, data etc. based on your needs

H2L Note: You will have to update and submit your extended visa or emirates ID after 3 months with Virgin Mobile. You will receive a message where they actually block your line until you have done the update. This requires physical presence of a Virgin Mobile employee. But as everything else in Dubai, they will come to your door. In this case Virgin has a few steps to go on that one, but overall, very user friendly.


If you are setting up a landline and WIFI connection, you might find du and Etisalat a more beneficial choice.


How can we help? We have a team of qualified people in our network ready to guide you in everything from how to relocate your pet to set up your business in Dubai. Feel free to reach out and we will happily connect you:

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