eSIM Dubai and Abu Dhabi: Cheaper Than Local SIM Card for Travelers

Going to Dubai or Abu Dhabi and want to share your experiences, navigate the city with online maps on your phone, or remember at the last minute that you wanted to make a restaurant reservation but there’s no Wi-Fi nearby? That’s where a local data SIM or eSIM comes in handy, giving you uninterrupted access to the Internet. We’ll show you whether it’s cheaper to buy a local SIM or install an eSIM.

Data eSIM Dubai, UAE: How to choose the best one?

In the United Arab Emirates there are two main operators – du and Etisalat. You will also often come across Virgin Mobile, which is a virtual operator that uses the du network. Etisalat has a faster connection, while du has slightly better coverage. But if you’re mainly in big cities, you won’t notice the difference.

In terms of local SIM card prices, the UAE is one of the most expensive countries. That’s why we recommend buying an eSIM, which you can easily get for half the price.

To choose the best eSIM, consider the nature of your vacation. If you’re planning a solo sightseeing trip, you’ll need more data than you’ll use at home. If you’re just stopping off in the UAE or spending most of your time in and around your hotel, there’s no need to buy such bulky packages.

esim dubai

Best data eSIM for Dubai, UAE

Let’s take a look at how much you can get the most-used data bundles for.

Cheapest packages

The cheapest eSIM with 1GB of data and 7 days validity will cost you $2.99 and you can get it from Monty eSIM. This eSIM uses the Etisalat network.

With other companies like MobiMatter or Airalo, the identical package is priced around the $5 mark. In the case of Airalo, you’ll also need to verify your documents.

Avarage data usage (5 GB)

The order doesn’t change for the larger packages either. 5 GB is the cheapest you can get with Monty eSIM, where it will set you back $10.5. This package is already valid for 30 days.

Next is MobiMatter again with a price of $12.99 and Airalo with a price of $13.

Big data usage (10 GB)

The 10 GB data package is again the cheapest at Monty eSIM, where you’ll pay $18.5 and can use it for 30 days.

You can also get an eSIM from MobiMatter, Airalo or Nomad for around $21-$22.

If you choose to buy an eSIM from MobiMatter, you’ll have several packages to choose from. Personally, I recommend the eSIMGo package, which gives you 5G connectivity. There’s also a 90-day version to choose from, or an eSIM with potential connectivity in 57 other countries. Be careful though, most of the countries are in Europe or East Asia, so unless the UAE is just a stopover for you to travel to the aforementioned areas, this package is not worth it.

Unlimited data bundles

If you want to be online literally all the time, you also have the option of several unlimited eSIM providers. The cheapest option is Holafly, with prices ranging from $19 to $54 based on the number of days. The most popular vacation versions are 10 days for $34 or 15 days for $47. Note that you cannot use the hotspot with this provider.

The slightly more expensive Yesim not only allows you to use the hotspot, but also gives you a free VPN. Here you only have two packages to choose from – the 7-day one will set you back €29.5 and the 15-day one will set you back €47. Yesim is the only provider that uses the du network.

You can also get unlimited data from YOHO mobile or Maya Mobile, but the price isn’t worth it.

💸 Use our discount codes for first purchase 💸
Airalo $3 code MAREK7858
Nomad $3 code MARE67aw

Přehledně nejvýhodnější balíčky eSIM

Monty eSIM1 GB$2.997 days
Monty eSIM5 GB$10.530 days
Monty eSIM10 GB$18.530 days
Holaflyunlimited$3410 days
eSIM Dubai

Classic SIM Card in Dubai, UAE

A classic tourist SIM card can only be purchased in the UAE by a person over the age of 18. If you meet this requirement, you will still need to show your passport at the time of purchase.

You can get a SIM card on arrival at the airport or at a specialized operator shop. There is no difference. If you don’t want to wait in line at the airport, you can order your SIM card in advance and just pick it up from the operator at the airport.

You can also get a free 1GB SIM card for 24 hours at the airport. This is especially useful if you’re changing planes in Dubai and only need it for a few hours, just in case. You can ask for this card at the immigration desk. Sometimes they hand them out themselves.

So if you are planning to stay longer, you have a choice of 3 operators – du, Etisalat and Virgin Mobile. Etisalat and du all offer SIM cards with 28 days validity and 30 (or more) free minutes. The amount of GB depends on your choice. They are very similar in price, although du may be a little cheaper on some bundles. Here’s an overview of the prices of some of the packages.

Data volume (GB)Price
2 GB49 AED ~ $13
4 GB79 AED ~ $21
10 GB139 AED ~ $38
neomezený na 7 dní199 AED ~ $54
neomezený na 15 dní300-319 AED ~ $82-$87
Expamples of data bundles in UAE

Virgin Mobile then has only 4 packages on offer that may be worthwhile for tourists: 21 GB for 7 days for AED 150, 40 GB for 10 days for AED 200 and two unlimited for 15 days for AED 300 and AED 500 for 30 days. All of them include 30 free minutes.

You should also know that calls and video calls via internet apps like WhatsApp or Messenger are not allowed in the country. For texting, these apps will work normally for you. You can get around this if you have an eSIM from Yesim that includes a VPN.

esim dubai
du operator offer


The United Arab Emirates is one of the most expensive countries to get a data SIM card. For comparison, Monty’s eSIM can be bought for $18.5. If you wanted to buy the same amount of data from a local operator, it would cost you $38, almost double! That’s why we recommend getting an eSIM.

The cheapest eSIM with limited data can be bought from Monty eSIM, but MobiMatter, Airalo or Nomad also have cheap packages where you can apply our discount codes to get better prices. We recommend buying unlimited data from Holafly or Yesim.


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Kačka Kodytková
Kačka Kodytková
I'm a full-time corporate producer, but travel is my passion and I devote all my free time to it. I have traveled to over 35 countries around the world and my goal is to travel the rest by the end of my life 🌍. On my travels, I always try to find ways to save money while bringing back the most authentic experiences. I like to share my experiences with those around me, which is why I want to be online all the time. This led me to explore the world of eSIM and in 2023, together with my boyfriend, I founded, a website that compares eSIM providers. I am also the co-author of, a website dedicated to travel. Here we share more advice, tips and experiences from our adventures. So, off to see the world! ✈

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