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Best eSIM providers and plans for Dubai in 2024


Are you planning a trip to Dubai? You'll need reliable mobile data to navigate, arrange transportation, make reservations, and stay connected with friends and family. And ease of use is where an eSIM (embedded Subscriber Identity Module) truly shines! An eSIM is built into your phone by its manufacturer, eliminating the need for a physical SIM.

An eSIM offers unbeatable global roaming without extra fees. Say goodbye to switching physical SIMs and hello to the flexibility of local plans for global destinations at your fingertips. Of course, there are so many providers that choosing the right one can take time and effort. But don't worry – we've rigorously tested the best options to bring you top-notch eSIM plans for Dubai, perfect for short stays, extended trips, and data-hungry usage.

Important tip: SIM and telecommunications sales and purchases are restricted within the UAE. Therefore, activating your Dubai eSIM before your flight is essential. This proactive step will guarantee a seamless experience without needing technical workarounds like a VPN to activate your eSIM.

Ready to find the best Dubai eSIM providers? Let's dive in and supercharge your Dubai adventure with seamless connectivity!

Top 5 eSIMs For Dubai ﹘ shortlist

What to consider before buying an eSIM for Dubai

An eSIM for travel is a great choice, but you need to consider a few factors, like your destination, trip duration, and data needs, to make the right choice. Currently, you can go for an eSIM that supports the two major telecom operators in Dubai, Du and Etisalat, or Virgin Mobile, a so-called MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator).

Remember that due to the regulatory position of the TDRA, you should get and activate your eSIM before heading on your journey to Dubai. So, let’s have a look at our list of priority factors you need to consider for getting the best Dubai eSIM:

  • Travel destination. You must go for an eSIM that works in the UAE so you can use it in Dubai. Coverage is crucial, as you wouldn’t want to spend money on an incompatible eSIM.
  • Use case. Another key factor is what you need your Dubai eSIM for. Do you only need to browse the internet, or do you also want to make calls and send text messages?
  • Travel duration. The available eSIMs come with a range of usage periods from a few days up to a month. However, not all offer such a variety, so make sure you get an eSIM that aligns with your Dubai trip’s planned duration.
  • Tethering functionality. Tethering allows you to use the eSIM as a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot for your other devices. Not all eSIMs come with this functionality.
  • Price. Price is often the ultimate factor in your purchase decision-making. eSIMs usually have very different prices based on their plans, features, and location. That’s why comparing a few Dubai eSIM providers is best before making your decision.

The best eSIMs for Dubai – our complete list

To develop our detailed list, we thoroughly tested some of the best eSIMs for Dubai. We’ve considered the plan options, network coverage, pricing, and ease of activation. So, now, let’s delve into more details about the top 5 Dubai eSIM provider

1. Saily - overall best eSIM for Dubai

Saily esim banner
Supported networks:3G, 4G, 5G
Country coverage:150+
Starting price:$3.99/week

Saily is a perfect eSIM provider for Dubai. It doesn’t require any know-your-customer (KYC) identity verification, comes with various plans, allows internet access in a few minutes, and is the most affordable eSIM on our list. Read on for the highlights, or check out our comprehensive Saily review for more detail.

Plan Options. Saily offers data-only plans for Dubai, such as 1GB, 3GB, 5GB, 10GB, or 20GB of data for seven or thirty days. All of these plans are prepaid. However, none of these plans includes a phone number, meaning you won’t be able to make mobile calls or send messages.

Dubai Plans Pricing. This provider is the most affordable one on our list. The starting plan with 1GB of data costs $3.99/week.

Network Coverage. Saily offers its services in 150+ countries, including the UAE. Although it doesn’t disclose its data coverage partners, you can surf using 3G, 4G, or 5G internet connections.

Activation Process. You can get your Dubai eSIM in less than 5 minutes. Just select your plan, choose your data plan and purchase. You can also use the QR code for downloading the app. Saily allows you to pay with your credit or debit card, PayPal, and Google Pay.

2. Airalo - Dubai eSIM with various subscriptions

Airalo banner
Supported networks:LTE
Country coverage:200+
Starting price:$4.50/week

Airalo offers six different plans for the UAE, allowing you to get the best deal and enjoy your Dubai trip. It also has top-up packages that will reduce your roaming costs.

Plan Options. Like Saily, Airalo comes with data-only plans, which means you can use it for internet access but not for making phone calls or sending texts. Even better, Airalo plans are prepaid, so you can purchase some of its six plans before you start using them.

Dubai Plans Pricing. Airalo’s plans come with 1GB, 2GB, 3GB, 5GB, 10GB, and 20GB of data. The starting plan costs $4.50/week, while the one with 20GB of data costs $35 for 30 days.

Network Coverage. One of its top perks is the ability to use it in 200+ countries. You can also choose a regional or global eSIM. In the UAE, you can use it via Etisalat’s LTE.

Activation Process. Airalo has a seamless activation process. Download the app, pick your preferred plan, and scan the QR code to complete the installation. You can also purchase with credit and debit cards, including PayPal, Apple Pay, Google Pay, Alipay, and Airalo’s reward currency, Airmoney. Remember that a temporary electronic know-your-customer (eKYC) ID verification for some countries can last from 24 hours to several days. Complete this process ahead of your trip to ensure smooth mobile access.

3. Nomad - budget-friendly eSIM for Dubai

Nomad banner
Supported networks:LTE, 3G, 4G, 5G
Country coverage:170+
Starting price:$4.50/week

The next eSIM provider that works seamlessly in Dubai is Nomad. Thanks to this eSIM, you will have internet access while traveling and not worry about expensive roaming costs. For more details, have a look at our full Nomad review.

Plan Options. Nomad comes with data-only plans for Dubai. There is no phone number, so you won’t be able to send messages or make phone calls. Ultimately, its five UAE plans are prepaid and include taxes in the price.

Dubai Plans Pricing. If you choose the 1 GB data plan, you can pay as little as $4.50/week. However, you can either top up your data allowance or select one of its 3GB, 5GB, 10GB, or 20GB data plans and pay up to $30 for 30 days.

Network Coverage. Thanks to its broad coverage, you can use Nomad in the UAE and 170+ other countries. Its Dubai eSIMs run on the Du network, which supports 3G and 4G internet connections.

Activation Process. Nomad’s activation begins with scanning the QR code and installing the app. Then, you choose your plan and activate it before your Dubai journey, and that’s it. This process should take around five minutes, as it does not require a KYC verification. The best part is that you can pay with credit, debit, prepaid cards, Apple Pay, and Google Pay.

4. Jetpac - excellent eSIM provider for Dubai with a validity of one year

JetPac banner
Supported networks:3G, 4G
Country coverage:100+
Starting price:$1 for four days

Jetpac is one of the best Dubai eSIMs. It offers a great deal for new users and fast internet connections. All you have to do is get the plan before you board a plane.

Plan Options. Jetpac offers three prepaid plans to enhance your Dubai trip. However, the only drawback might be that they’re all data-only, meaning there is no phone number for local calls and texts.

Dubai Plans Pricing. Jetpac has 1GB, 3GB, and 5GB data eSIMs for the UAE. That said, you can get the 1GB data plan for $1 with a validity of 4 days. The 3GB and 5GB plans cost $11/week and $30 for 30 days, respectively.

Network Coverage. Jetpac is currently available in over 100 countries, including the UAE. Unfortunately, this eSIM has only 3G and 4G networks, so your Du internet services might be slower.

Activation Process. Last, you can activate your Jetpac Dubai eSIM in no time. Just install the app, select your preferred subscription and purchase. You can pay with a credit or debit card, Apple Pay, or Google Pay.

5. aloSIM - Dubai eSIM with an international phone number

aloSIM banner
Supported networks:LTE, 4G, 5G
Country coverage:175+
Starting price:$8/week

Don't let aloSIM's position at the end of our list fool you – this provider packs a powerful punch in the world of Dubai eSIMs. Given its exciting blend of features and benefits, aloSIM might be the hidden gem you've been searching for.

Plan Options. aloSIM comes with prepaid data plans that include an international phone number. This included phone number means you can use the internet without roaming costs in Dubai, make free calls, and send free messages.

Dubai Plans Pricing. The UAE plans include 1GB, 2GB, 3GB, 5GB, 10GB, and 20GB of data. The initial plan with 1GB of data costs $8/week, and 20GB costs $65 for 30 days.

Network Coverage. aloSIM is available in 175+ countries. You can use 5G connections in Dubai through the local operator, Du.

Activation Process. To activate aloSIM, you must download the app, select a deal, and install it on your device. This process takes a few minutes, and due to the KYC verification, it may take longer. Ultimately, you can purchase with your credit or debit card, Apple Pay, Google Pay, cryptocurrencies, and bank transfers.

Comparison of the best eSIM providers for Dubai

Now that you’re familiar with Dubai's best eSIM providers let’s summarise everything they offer. Check our table below:

Brand Plan durationData sharingUnlimited dataCallsGB per planSupportPrice
Saily7 and 30 daysYesNoNo1GB, 3GB, 5GB, 10GB, and 20GBIn English via knowledgebase, email, and FAQs$3.99-$30.99
Airalo 7, 15, and 30 daysYesNoNo1GB, 2GB, 3GB, 5GB, 10GB, and 20GBIn English via live chat$4.50-$35
Nomad 7 and 30 daysYesNoNo1GB, 3GB, 5GB, 10GB, and 20GBIn English via the help centre, email, and FAQs$4.50-$30
Jetpac4, 7, and 30 daysYesNo No 1GB, 3GB, and 5GBIn English via live chat$1-$30
aloSIM7, 15, and 30 daysYesNo Yes 1GB, 2GB, 3GB, 5GB, 10GB, and 20GBIn English via live chat$8-$65

How we tested and ranked these eSIMs for Dubai

To determine the best eSIM providers for Dubai, we tested a few crucial factors, such as coverage, network connection, compatibility, and price. Before we delve into more details about each criterion, let’s briefly see what we were interested in:

Coverage:Does it have regional and local plans?
Network connection:Does it support 4G and 5G networks? Is connecting to the network is fast and seamless?
Compatibility:Is it compatible with iOS and Android? Does it support multiple devices?
Price:Is it budget-friendly? Is everything included in the price?

Now, let’s explain each factor separately and see how this helped us rank the best eSIMs for Dubai:

  • Coverage. First and foremost, we always explore eSIM coverage. We focus primarily on local coverage within Dubai before considering regional and global options.
  • Network connection. Another essential aspect of eSIMs is their network connection. This refers to the type of networks they support, such as LTE, 3G, 4G, and 5G. We’re most interested in the 4G and 5G connections. They are lightning-fast and provide fast and stable internet connections.
  • Compatibility. Compatibility is also crucial, as you don't want to buy an eSIM that doesn’t work on your device. Even though older devices don’t support eSIMs, we always list eSIM providers compatible with most new phone models. The best part is that even if you want to use an internet connection on a device that isn’t compatible with an eSIM, their tethering functionalities allow you to share data.
  • Price. Lastly, we always choose the most affordable eSIMs for Dubai. Our detailed list shows that all cost around $4 and offer all the necessary features and services.

How to activate an eSIM card in 5 different ways

Setting up an eSIM is easy and fast. However, remember that the process usually depends on the individual provider and the activation method. That’s why we created a few guides with the five different methods. You can use these activation ways on both Samsung phones and iPhones. Let’s check them out:

  • QR code entry. First, you must visit the official eSIM website for a QR code. Then, open the settings on your phone and find ‘Cellular.’ Once you do that, add the eSIM and scan the QR code to activate it.
  • Manual entry. If you want to install the eSIM manually, you must contact your carrier and receive the SM-DP+ address, activation code, and a link. Next, go to settings, click ‘Cellular,’ and add the eSIM. After that, select Manual entry and click ‘Enter Details Manually.’ Here, you need to enter the SM-DP+ address and activation code provided by your carrier.
  • Use the provider's app. This is probably the easiest way to get the eSIM, but it’s still not automated. You download the app, pick your plan, and make a purchase. Then, you still need to go to your phone’s settings and add the eSIM so that it can start working.
  • Use a provider's website. This process is very similar to the previous one, but instead of downloading the app, you go to the official website of the eSIM. Here, you can find the QR code and follow the first method we’ve explained or look for installation guides and follow those steps.
  • Activate in-store. The last method is to activate the eSIM in the provider’s store. You need to contact a staff member who will help you install the eSIM using some of the above methods.

Does my phone support eSIM?

To know whether your phone supports an eSIM, check its compatibility. Don’t worry! We have you covered:

eSIM compatability on iPhone:

  1. Go to your iPhone Settings.
  2. Click on ‘General.’
  3. Select ‘About.’
  4. Search for ‘Digital SIM’ (on older iPhones) or ‘Available SIM’ (iOS 15 and later).
  5. If you see a 15-digit IMEI number listed here, your iPhone supports eSIMs.

eSIM compatability on Android phone:

  1. Go to Settings.
  2. Select ‘Connections’ (or Connections and mobile hotspot on some models).
  3. Click on ‘SIM card manager.’
  4. If there’s ‘Add eSIM’ or ‘Add Mobile Plan’ (depending on your model), you can use an eSIM without an issue.

Can I make phone calls with an eSIM from Dubai?

Currently, most eSIM plans offer data-only packages, so you can't make regular mobile phone calls. Luckily, you can still make calls through Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and social media messaging apps like WhatsApp, Skype, and FaceTime.

eSIM compatability on iPhone

Not all iPhones support eSIMs. While older iPhones like the iPhone 6S, iPhone 7, and iPhone 8 don't have eSIM support, the iPhone XR and later models can work with eSIM technology without issues.

Remember that the US version of the newest iPhone 15 series is eSIM-only, meaning it does not have a physical SIM card slot. This status varies by country, but most other country-specific versions of the iPhone 15 support eSIM and a physical SIM slot (nano-SIM size). To learn more about this, check out our iPhone eSIM guide.

eSIM compatability on Samsung

To check if your Samsung phone supports eSIM connectivity, you need to check whether the ‘Status’ or ‘IMEI information’ is available in the ‘About Phone’ or ‘Settings’ menu. This will help you quickly determine whether your current model is compatible with eSIM technology. For example, the Samsung S20 and later models are eSIM-compatible.

Benefits of using an eSIM in Dubai

eSIMs for Dubai can benefit you in a few ways, which is why they’re the most popular solution for tourists. However, starting in late 2023, neither major telecom company Du nor Etisalat offered tourist eSIMs. Only individuals with an Emirates ID or UAE pass can purchase an eSIM card inside Dubai and UAE.

Now, let’s briefly go through all the benefits:

  • Comfortable. eSIMs allow you to switch between network providers without changing physical SIM cards. This makes it perfect for regions like Dubai, where network reception can vary.
  • Stress-free. You can purchase and configure your eSIM before arriving in Dubai. As a result, you can be sure you have instant internet connectivity upon landing without stressing about where to find a local SIM vendor.
  • Safe to use. An eSIM is physically embedded in your mobile device, which helps cut down your risk of losing or having someone steal your SIM card. It also provides a more secure environment for mobile services and personal information.
  • Space-friendly. Another benefit is the eSIM’s space-friendliness. More precisely, eSIM technology eliminates the need for a physical SIM slot, allowing companies to make slimmer device designs and make space for additional features and larger batteries.
  • Eco-friendly. The eSIMs are entirely digital, reducing the need for plastic SIM cards. This significantly contributes to environmental sustainability by minimising electronic waste.

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