How to find the best mobile phone plan in Dubai

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  • Getting a SIM Card and Mobile Phone connection in Dubai is very easy.
  • You can choose from Etisalat, Du, Virgin Mobile or Swyp.
  • It is however, necessary to understand and compare what phone plans are on offer, what are their benefits and how well do they meet your personal needs before you choose a plan.

etisalat logo dubai

Whether you’ve just arrived in the city or are looking for a shift from your existing phone plan, getting connected in Dubai is almost effortless. You can sign up at one of the countless Etisalat and Du kiosks or even pick up a new Virgin Mobile sim card at your nearest supermarket.

However, the actual challenge lies in choosing a plan that meets your personal connectivity needs at an affordable price.

Telecom Service Providers in the UAE – Who owns the talk shops?

The UAE has been largely a duopoly with Etisalat and Du being the only telecom operators available. In 2017, customers saw the launch of Virgin Mobile followed by Swyp. Although both of these service providers are affiliated to Du and Etisalat respectively, they are offered as entirely separate brands.

With earnest competition between these brands, customers are faced with a myriad of plans with varying benefits and costs. Multiple offers, talk-time limits and data brackets can be overwhelming terms to a first-time customer.

You can follow these suggestions to understand and take the right call on your phone plan:

Get the requirements ready

Purchasing a SIM Card is easy, all you need is:

  • A Copy of your Passport.
  • A Copy of your Valid Residence Visa Stamp / Valid Visit Visa.
  • Other Documents like Salary Certificate, Bank Statements or Driving License may be required for Post-paid plans.
Recognize your needs

Are you an internet fanatic who likes to be connected 24/7 or are you just a social media butterfly who can make do with Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Twitter? Do you want to pay as you use or prefer a slightly heavier plan with a range of benefits?

Knowing what you exactly need will help you find a plan that gives you the best value for money.

Compare plans

Here’s a glance at the various plan types you can avail

Pre-paid plans

Immediate Connection – for people who want to get connected instantly but wish to pay only for what they use. Great for low-spenders or getting a second connection.

Visitor – for tourists who need basic connectivity.

Pay-as-you-use Data – for people on-the-go who wish to use only a limited amount of data, infrequently.

Social Data – for students and people who wish to remain connected always online on social media and internet messaging apps.

Post-paid plans

Emirati Plan or Heavy-data Usage – for high-end users who wish to enjoy constant streaming and downloads and consume a very large amount of data. Plans can start from 5GB per month to up to 25 or 50 GB per month. These plans often also include “flexible” free talk time for local as well as international calls.

Local Talk time and Messaging – for those who need to make local calls and messages daily. These plans are often opted by sales professionals who call clients regularly and also apt for expats who wish to stay connected to friends and family in the UAE.

International Talk time – for expat workers who wish to have their family back home one call away. Also works well for high-scale professionals who need to make calls all over the world on a daily-basis.

Broadband internet with landline plans

Apart from mobile phone services, you can also subscribe to broadband internet and landline connections for your home or business. Home plans also get the option of a television package while business plans can include a fax number and additional mobile phone connection also.


Both Virgin Mobile and Swyp are telecom services launched to appeal to a younger customer base. To emphasize that, Swyp even has customer age limit of 15-29.

What makes them different?

Younger customers are more tech-savvy. They enjoy controlling what they pay for and what they get. Both these brands offer flexibility for you to pick, choose and add only those services you need. SWYP itself is an acronym for ‘So, What’s Your Plan?”

Everything’s Digital
To sign up for either, you need to download their respective apps on your mobile phone, scan your ID and have your SIM card delivered to you. Virgin promises to do so within an hour while Swyp also allows you to buy one from any Etisalat store.

Swyp vs. Virgin Mobile
Swyp offers lifestyle offers based on your preferences while Virgin is known for free add-ons.

Swyp at its cheapest, offers 5GB of Social Data at AED50 per month, while Virgin Mobile comes with a minimum AED79 plan with 50 minutes and 2GB Data that isn’t just restricted to social data.

Add a phone to the phone plan

To lure customers, Etisalat and Du offer the latest mobile and tablet devices in a combination pack with post-paid plans. The cost of the phone is included in the monthly plan, so it feels like a free add-on. You can avail similar offers from electronics stores, but if you’re looking for a convenient upgrade, this is not a bad alternative.

In the end, no matter what plan you choose, make sure you don’t get tempted into perks you do not understand and sign up for contracts you may regret in the long run. With a little discretion, it’s easy and affordable to get connected in the UAE.


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Aqeed is an insurance technology company that aims to make insurance simple, transparent, and accessible. We are on a mission to help you become better at everything related to insurance. From the decisions you make to the choices you take, you are In Sure Hands.

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