Internet in the UAE – how cheaper
For many tourists, the Internet on vacation is indispensable – share your impressions with friends and photos in social networks, order a taxi, see the route on online cards, buy landmarks on the official website.
In this article, we will tell about the Internet in the UAE. The more profitable to use – the local SIM card or services of Russian operators in roaming? And also talk about Internet features in the UAE: about operators, prices, restrictions.
In 2021, the Etisalat operator has fully updated the line of tourist SIM. And the operator DU partially updated the line of Internet traffic packages. Prices and information in this article updated February 2, 2021. We "Hold your hand on the pulse". Read only sites from current information.
In this article we will talk only about the Internet. If you need the most cheap calls, then read our article "How to call from the UAE".
Mobile operators in the UAE
In the UAE there are only two telecom operators – this is etisalat and du, both are national companies in the UAE, partially owned by the state. Both work on GSM 900/1800, the SIM card format is the same as we.
The Virgin operator is not really an operator, but just the second brand of the company DU. We categorically do not recommend Virgin, as their SIM cards work on automatically updated subscription. Money from a bank card will shoot monthly, and unsubscribe almost unreal. In the English-language Internet, hundreds of angry reviews from tourists about this. Ultimately not recommended!
SWYP operator is not really an operator, but simply the second brand of Etisalat. And the problem is the same – the automatically extended subscription. Ultimately not recommended!
It is believed that Etisalat is more focused on resident residents, they serve more subscribers in post-payment contracts. DU is more focused on tourists and short-term visitors to the UAE, they have more pre-payment subscribers.
Prices for these two operators are almost no different. Competition between them exists only "for a tick". In fact, their activities are fully controlled by TRA UAE (UAE telecommunications management).
Such a policy led the UAE to the status of one of the countries with the most expensive Internet. Cable estimates.co.UK in 2020, the UAE takes 128th place in the availability of prices on the Internet! Russia in this ranking on the 9th place. We have a gigabyte mobile traffic worthwhile on average 0.52 $, in the Arab Emirates it is worth an average of $ 3.78. But this analysis included all tariffs (including the most expensive), and both tourists are interested in the first place for basic tariffs.
Differences on the Internet in Russia and Arab Emirates
We will make a brief comparison, take the tariff SMART from MTS. At the time of the actualization of this article (February 2021) it costs 450 rubles a month, rounded rudely – $ 5.9 US dollars. 5 GB of mobile Internet is provided for this money.
Let’s see what can be obtained for the same $ 5.9 in the UAE, in the local currency it is 21.6 Dirhams. Etisalat – 25 Dirhams worth 0.75 GB of traffic (MEDIUM tariff). Differences at 7.5 times!
Attention! This tariff is no longer
In November 2017, the Russian operator Tele2 launched an option entitled "Unlimited Internet in the UAE". The connection was not limited in time, nor by speed, nor by traffic. The price was only 100 rubles a day.
There was an anecdotic situation when for Tele2 subscribers in roaming the Internet cost even cheaper than for residents of the UAE in the home network. For comparison, unlimited mobile Internet at Etisalat costs 10 dirhams per day.
Now this service from Tele2 is closed to connect – it is no longer, and sorry.
Attention! Messenger calls do not work
In the UAE, strict laws in the field of telecommunications. VoIP services (voice transmission through digital communication networks) have the right to provide only two operators – this is Etisalat and du. Other options are prohibited by law.
Get ready for the fact that calls via Skype, Viber, Watchup will not work. Voice traffic by operators is blocked. Although periodically calls by messenger work, the blocking system (Firewall) is not perfect. For example, in 2021, two tourists have already written to us that VoIP calls work on Telegram.
Some users put on themselves on the phone to create a VPN. If you explain with simple words, these programs organize "Tunnel" to a special server in Russia. The phone turns out to be on the Internet in Russia, and the messengers work. Theoretically, in the UAE such a trick is outlawed – "Cybercrime Law" from 2016.
Important! What is Data Social
When buying Internet packages, Etisalat and Du are found phrases "250 MB + 250 MB Data Social" or "3 GB + 2 GB Data Social".
Data Social is traffic that can only be used for social networks. Moreover, only foreign social networks are charged – Facebook, Instagram, Google+, LinkedIn. That is, Russian VKontakte and classmates are not included in this list, the traffic when using them is classified as common.
In the UAE there is a system of internet censorship. Something she resembles the famous Great Chinese Firewall, but it works a little differently. In the UAE, only two telecom operators, any blocking easily on their equipment. In Russia, such a system of censorship is even theoretically impossible, since we have hundreds of providers.
In the UAE there may be blocked:
– Resources that make a threat to the competition of the VoIP monopoly;
– non-cultural, moral and political values of the UAE;
– Any Web sites in the domain .IL (Israel) or Pages in Hebrew language, and although in October 2020 relations of the UAE and Israel normalized, but sites can be blocked "by old memory".
Almost any Web site may be banned. For example, if the site costs the service "Call us through the site". Or the site contains images of a woman with a deep neckline. Criteria are so blurry that you can find fault to any site and ban.
Officially, tourists cannot take advantage of the whole range of tariffs Etisalat. That is, if you come directly into one of the offices of Etisalat, then there will be sold only a SIM card with a tourist tariff. You can find a SIM card with a regular tariff at resellers that can always be found in shopping centers.
For the SIM card in the UAE you need to pay. At the time of updating this article (February 2021), the SIM card Etisalat costs 55 dirhams (+ 5% VAT). Moreover, after purchase, you need to wait for its activation, the procedure lasts within 1 hour. From all this Russian tourists are often shocked.
Balance is convenient to replenish payment maps that can be bought at any store. Having bought payment card, act according to the instructions on the map. Check Balance – * 121 #.
Tariffs Visitor Line
The difference in prices for tourist and ordinary tariffs is small, but tourist rates give useful bonuses:
– 5 or 30 hours of access via uae wifi by etisalat;
– Promotional code for a 50% discount (but not more than 25 dirhams) for 4 trips to CAREEM taxi. Discount applies only to new CAREEM users. Does not work at the cheapest rate of CAREEM GO, but it is still canceled in the UAE from September 2019;
– Subscribe to the Koppenik Smile etisalat. This bonus is the most interesting, there are coupons for discounts in the parks of attractions and water parks, restaurants, fast foods, trendy shops.
Considering that Uae WiFi by Etisalat works in cities in all public places, it is likely that both mobile Internet via 3G / 4G will not have to use at all.
In the framework of the Tariff Visitor Line (Tourist) now there are 4 sentences, all work 28 days.
1. For 49 dirhams (from Vat, you do not need to pay 55 for SIM): 2 GB of mobile Internet, 30 locals, WiFi is not included.
2. For 79 dirhams (with VAT, you do not need to pay 55 for SIM): 4 GB of mobile Internet, 30 locals, WiFi is not included.
3. For 125 dirhams (from Vat, pay 55 for SIM is not needed): 6 GB of mobile Internet, 120 locals, 5 hours of work WiFi.
4. For 200 Dirhams (from Vat, you do not need to pay 55 for SIM): 22.5 GB of mobile Internet, 525 local minutes, 30 hours of work WiFi.
Actual Dirhama Course Look at our UAE Currency page.
In the Etisalat office, you can translate your SIM from the tourist status to the usual, but we do not know the details of this procedure.
Tariffs for residents
Tariffs with payment for the volume of traffic for residents are about the same as for tourists.
Tariffs for 30 days: 750 MB for 25 Dirhams (Medium), 2 GB for 50 Dirhams (LARGE), 3.5 GB for 75 Dirhams (Extra Large).
Much more interesting to connect New Control Line tariffs – this is access to the volume, but limited by connecting speed. For 80 dirhams, you get 2 GB at full speed, but then the Internet does not turn off – runs at a speed of 64kbit / C.
In addition, now on this board 80 Dirhams included 1000 minutes to "Favorite Number". For example, you can buy two such SIM cards, connect the numbers "favorite" on each other and talk to each other with almost no restrictions.
If the speed is not fundamental, then it is better not to find the option in the UAE! Look for resellers who will sell a SIM card with this tariff. However, it is very difficult to buy these unlimited tariffs. Better not to count on this seriously.
Situation similar like Etisalat. SIM card costs 55 dirhams (+ 5% VAT). Activation need to wait up to 15 minutes. In official offices, tourists can only buy Tourist Plan tariff. Resellers can be purchased by a SIM card for residents, but there is no point in that, what we will tell below.
SIM card can already be bought at the airports of Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah, DU offices are in each terminal.
DU Tourist Package
When buying a tourist fare 55 for a SIM card you do not need to pay. At the moment there are three Tourist Plan tariff plan:
Tariff 1. For 55 dirhams get: 500 MB of traffic, 20 minutes + 20 SMS on the rooms of the UAE. Package works 7 days. After the first 7 days, you can extend the operation of the SIM card by typing * 135 # and selecting the option "2" (cost of extension 5 dirhams).
Tariff 2. For 75 dirhams get: 2 GB of traffic, 40 minutes + 40 sms on the rooms of the UAE. Package running 14 days.
Tariff 3. For 110 dirhams Get: 3.5 GB of traffic, 50 minutes + 50 SMS on the rooms of the UAE. Package running 14 days.
Important moment! As soon as these 500 MB (2 or 3.5 GB) end, the tourist becomes available all the packages of the mobile Internet, which only exist from the DU operator. You just need to buy a payment card ("Recharge Card"), replenish the score of the * 131 * [payment card number] # and connect yourself a package of services.
Prices for Internet packages from DU:
– 200 MB (+200 MB Social) – 25 dirhams;
– 500 MB (+500 MB Social) – 55 dirhams;
– 1.1 GB (+1.1 GB Social) – 110 dirhams;
– 5 GB (+3 GB Social) – 210 dirhams;
– 25 GB (+15 GB Social) – 525 Dirhams.
That is, standard tariffs in DU are available to tourists on the Tourist Plan SIM card. There is no need to search for resellers and buy "Owl" by SIM for residents.
From the same number you can call to Russia for 2.52 Dirhams per minute. To enable international call service, type * 135 #.
Bonuses SIM card Tourist Plan from DU
Included with a SIM card, a useful promotional code is provided with a 20% discount for four trips to the Uber taxi. You need to install the Uber application and enter promotional code, the discount will be applied to the following four trips automatically.
At the cheapest Uberx rate, this discount does not apply. But here it is not necessary to regret, since the tariff Uberx since September 2019 in Dubai canceled.
Recently, two more interesting promotional code for a discount in the Dollar Rent A Car service and a free subscription to Du Entertainer are given, but since the summer of 2019, these promotional codes were canceled.
This bonus has some tourists manage to compensate for the cost of the SIM card.
Internet in roaming from Russian operators
Interestingly, first of all, for those tourists who do not feel sorry for the money and want to enjoy their "native" SIM card and number.
MTS in Roaming
With the tariff option "Bit abroad" you can enjoy Internet access for 450 rubles per day. After generating 500 MB of traffic speed drops to 128 kb / c.
There is another option "Zabugorische" for 390 rubles a day. The principle is the same – the first 1 gigabyte at full speed, then speed drops to 128 kb / c. Megabytes of traffic spend from home package.
Good options for those who need a lot of internet.
Beeline in roaming
Beeline has an option "Unlimited Internet" for 350 rubles a day. The principle is the same – the first 1 gigabyte at full speed, then speed drops to 128 kb / c.
Megaphone in roaming
The megaphone operator has recently abolished the roaming options, and its "Roaming, Goodba" option has become forced for all, and in addition, it has risen up to 500 rubles a day. EXPENSIVE. And in addition after 1 gigabyte, the Internet is disconnected that uncomfortable.
Tele2 in roaming
Tele2 has an option "Unlimited Internet" for 350 rubles a day. The principle is the same – the first 200 megabytes at full speed, then speed drops to 128 kb / c.
If you expect to call Skype, Whatsup or to another messenger and thus save on calls, then an unpleasant surprise is waiting in the UAE – calls for messengers are blocked. Will have to communicate with the house in the traditional way. Read our review "How to call from the UAE".
If the Internet is needed at the minimum price. Come to the nearest office of the Etisalat operator and buy a Visitor Line SIM card, get 2, 4, 6 or 22 GB of traffic. Do not forget about interesting bonuses to this package. About bonuses, prices and conditions for using the tariff We wrote above.
If you actively use the Internet and are ready to pay for comfort. Use your SIM card and the options "bit abroad" (450 rubles per day) or "Zabugorische" (390 rubles per day) at MTS, "Unlimited Internet" (350 rubles per day) at Beeline, Unlimited Internet (350 rub on day) by tele2. On conditions, we wrote above in this article.
If you are going to use roaming, then be sure to read our page "9 roaming stones".
What are the expensive expenses except on the trip, read in the article "How much money to take money in the UAE".
Good connection in the Arab Emirates, and read our articles about this country (Links below).
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"Zabugorische" Already 350 rubles. At 19.12.2018
Alexander – Glavred site
thanks for the information. In general, the picture does not change.
Really useful site. I am going to Dubai, shind up on this site for a day, studying. Forewarned is forearmed. Well done. thanks!
Alexander – Glavred site
And what VPN can be used in the UAE .
Alexander – Glavred site
Anyone. But VPN service overview is better read on technical topics.
On other sites there are info about the Virgin operator, however, you are not mentioned.
Alexander – Glavred site
It is called "Illusion Competition". )) Virgin operator does not actually. This is Du. There is also no SWYP operator. This is Etisalat.