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Saturday 17th April. National League South. Maidstone United Maidstone United15:00 Slough Town Slough Town. Match cancelled


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As with many other pairings the best match for steak pie depends how you cook it and whether the sauce includes beer, stock or wine

If it’s beer as in a steak and ale pie the obvious answer is beer - a robust bitter or brown ale I suggest although you could use a strong Belgian ale like Orval or Chimay and if you prefer wine I've drunk old Bandol with steak pie with great success.

Porter and stout are also good pairings for a pie with a dark meaty gravy, especially if the same beer has been used in the sauce. As in this match with steak and stilton pie.

If you use red wine to make the pie that generally makes wine the better pairing. Again no reason why you shouldn’t drink a similar wine to the one you’ve used in the pie - a Corbières, Faugères or other Languedoc red would fit the bill perfectly.

If mushrooms are a feature as in a steak and mushroom pie you could consider a robust style of pinot noir such as those from Central Otago.

If you use stock in the pie which will result in a lighter, less intense gravy you could go either way - a lighter bitter or a medium bodied red like a red Bordeaux or a rioja crianza would all hit the spot.

Some traditional steak pies also include ox kidney which again makes for a richer dish. Again I'd have a marginal preference for a strong beer here though a robust red like a Malbec would also work.

Image © MariaKovaleva at shutterstock.com


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Which beer for steak and ale pie?

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The United Arab Emirates (UAE) – mostly known for the insane skyscrapers in Dubai, Dubai International Airport & Emirates- and Etihad Airlines.

When you think of the United Arab Emirates, you may think of the Burj Khalifa, The World Islands in Dubai, or elegant malls

But what about the less extravagant things, like the many deserts full of exciting attractions (and full of sand, of course).

You would almost forget the United Arab Emirates has many deserts when you mostly see pictures of Dubai.

So, what to do in this country?

If you love to shop, The Dubai Mall is for you.

Lose seeing beautiful mosques? Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque will take your breath away.

Into art? The Alserkal Avenue has a bunch of modern art galleries.

In short, being bored while in the United Arab Emirates should be illegal.

Before you decide to make your friends on social media jealous, be aware that international roaming can be expensive.

You are better off buying local SIM cards to enjoy local rates, even in the United Arab Emirates – not a place known for being affordable.

But how expensive are SIM cards in this country?

You can get an Emirati SIM card for as low as 55 AED (14.01 USD) up to 99 AED (26.95 USD) in mobile operator stores (Etisalat – also for Swyp, Du & Virgin Mobile) or authorized dealers. SIM cards are also available at Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Sharjah airports.

15 USD for a SIM card? That is certainly not cheap.

As I said, this is not a cheap country. But international roaming rates here? They are criminal.

But, you will be visiting a country that has the fastest mobile download speeds globally.

So is it worth the price? Probably. But we will have to see, huh?

In this guide, I will go over everything you need to know about buying a SIM card in the United Arab Emirates. Let's do this.

Original publication: 25th of December 2019. Last updated: 16th of April 2023.

Anyone 18 years old or older living in or visiting the United Arab Emirates can buy an Emirati SIM card from the mobile network operators (Etisalat, Du, Swyp & Virgin Mobile) in their stores or from authorized resellers.

You do have to comply with the SIM card registration regulations.

Moreover, you need a phone that supports the frequencies used in the country (preferably all of them to have the most optimal experience while in the United Arab Emirates).

Furthermore, you need to have a SIM-lock-free device.

You can get an Emirati SIM card in Etisalat (also for Swyp), Du & Virgin Mobile stores. It is also possible to get SIM cards at select international airports, including Dubai International Airport.

You can buy a SIM card in the following international airports:

You can expect to pay the following for Emirati SIM cards:

The following operators also have SIM cards targeting tourists:

For up-to-date AED:your currency (let's say USD) exchange rates, use the Wise Currency Converter tool.

The United Arab Emirates use GSM technology for mobile communications. CDMA phones will not work in the United Arab Emirates. If your phone has a SIM card slot, then it supports GSMA (99% of the phones do support GSM nowadays).

Traditional European frequencies are used in the United Arab Emirates, which are mostly used in ITU Regions 1 & 3 (Africa, Asia (including the Middle East), Europe & Oceania).

The Americas (North-, Central– & South America + the Caribbean – ITU Region 2) use American Frequencies, which differ from the European ones.

If you bought your phone in Africa, Asia, Europe, or Oceania (ITU Regions 1 & 3), you should not experience any issues with using your phone in the United Arab Emirates.

If you purchased your phone in the Americas (ITU Region 2) and have a low/medium-end device (without Tri-Band or Quad-Band) support, then there is a possibility you cannot use your phone when in the United Arab Emirates or can only use slower networks (3G or 2G).

If you have a medium/high-end device with Tri-Band or Quad-Band support, you can use your phone in the United Arab Emirates (to some extent) – also on 4G/LTE and 5G NR.

The United Arab Emirates have two mobile network operators (Main Operators) and two Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) offering prepaid services easily accessible to travelers:

The following frequencies are used in the United Arab Emirates:

You can learn more about frequencies in the video below.

To check whether your phone will work in the United Arab Emirates, check out this page by Kimovil or this one by Will My Phone Work (outdated, unfortunately, but extremely user-friendly – useful for phones launched in or before 2019. It does not check for 5G NR compatibility).

Again, make sure your phone is unlocked. Otherwise, you will not be able to use any SIM card except the one from your home operator (meaning you have to roam internationally or buy another unlocked phone that does support the frequencies listed above).

If you want to learn how international roaming works, this guide explains it in-depth. If you wonder why it is often so expensive to roam, this article explains the hidden reason they do not want you to know.

Commercial 5G NR has been available in the United Arab Emirates since 2019. It was available to all types of customers, including prepaid users.

Although 5G NR is still mostly concentrated in populated areas (like Abu Dhabi and Dubai), it is still being actively rolled out.

Unfortunately, none of the mobile operators offer eSIM to prepaid customers in United Arab Emirates yet.

Note that the Emirati mobile operators require your identification (passport) for (future) eSIMs and physical SIM cards (will be discussed later).

Therefore, if you wish to get an eSIM for United Arab Emirates without personal detail capturing, you can get the United Arab Emirates (Burj Mobile) eSIM from Airalo.

You have these three options:

Note: Phone Travel Wiz reader popularity ranking was updated in March based on data up to the 13th of March (2023 data only)

For an in-depth analysis of the United Arab Emirates Burj Mobile eSIMs (covering pros and cons as well), check out my United Arab Emirates eSIMs Compared guide.

Finally, you can get United Arab Emirates eSIMs from Holafly:

Use code PHONETRAVELWIZ for exclusive deals when getting Holafly eSIMs, AND get an additional 5% off!

For an in-depth analysis of the Holafly United Arab Emirates eSIMs (covering pros and cons as well), check out my United Arab Emirates eSIMs Compared guide.

With these eSIMs, you can skip the United Arab Emirates' SIM card registration scheme entirely and use it immediately upon arriving in the United Arab Emirates!

TIP: check out my Best United Arab Emirates eSIMs Compared guide for an in-depth comparison of several eSIMs for United Arab Emirates, including ones not mentioned above.

Airalo recently introduced an eSIM for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA): Menalink. The Menalink eSIM follows the popular Eurolink eSIM for 39 European countries, the fairly new Asialink eSIM for 14 Asian countries & the super new Latamlink eSIM for 19 Latin American countries.

The Menalink eSIM comes in three variants: 1 GB/7 days – most popular with PTW readers, 2 GB/15 days & 3 GB/30 days – very popular with PTW readers, to be used in United Arab Emirates and 14 other Middle Eastern and Northern African countries:

TIP: Check out my eSIM lookup tool for an overview of local mobile operators offering eSIMs to prepaid customers and travel eSIMs I use and love (for eSIMs in the United Arab Emirates and eSIMs worldwide) and my Best United Arab Emirates eSIMs Compared guide for an in-depth comparison of several eSIMs for the United Arab Emirates.

SIM card registration, with the use of your passport information, is mandatory in the United Arab Emirates. This will be done at the point of purchase.

As of 2016, biometrics (fingerprints) will also be taken as part of the SIM card registration process.

As of January 2018, the Emirati government introduced a Value Added Tax (VAT) of 5% applicable to most goods and services in the United Arab Emirates.

The 5% VAT will be charged when using your prepaid credit to buy a package or plan.

This means that you will not be taxed 5% when reloading your SIM card or that the reload amounts have increased by 5% (like in Saudi Arabia).

Instead, the 5% VAT will be charged when buying a SIM card or buying a plan.

The prices listed below will mention whether the advertised price is tax inclusive or not.

There is internet censorship in the United Arab Emirates. The government censors various things, such as LGBTQ content, pornography, political criticism, and escort services.

Other inaccessible sites are Israeli domains (.il).

However, unlike other countries in the region, internet censorship is not as strong in the United Arab Emirates.

Usually, I would recommend using a VPN when a government censors the internet.

However, a change to the Cybercrime Law in 2016 states that […] Whoever uses a fraudulent computer network protocol address (IP address) by using a false address or a third-party address by any other means for the purpose of committing a crime or preventing its discovery, shall be punished by temporary imprisonment and a fine of no less than 500 000 AED and not exceeding 2 000 000 AED, or either of these two penalties,

In short, this makes the use of VPN services de facto illegal.

However, VPN use for corporate use is still allowed (to access internal networks, for example).

Moreover, the government will have a hard time tracking individuals using VPNs (especially those with camouflage protocols, such as NordVPN and Surfshark).

Because of this, I will not advocate for VPN usage in the United Arab Emirates just to access blocked websites or avoid surveillance.

However, I always recommend travelers to use a VPN when connecting to (open) WIFI hotspots or access geo-blocked content, like Netflix. You can check the VPNs I recommend for the purposes stated above on this page.

And certainly not to access blocked websites deemed immoral by the government *wink* *wink*.

VoIP services have mostly been banned in the United Arab Emirates.

Examples of VoIP services are WhatsApp calls, Facebook Messenger calls, or Snapchat calls.

One of the most cited reasons why VoIP has been banned in the Kingdom is that it would result in loss of (international) call and text revenues for Etisalat and Du (which are both partially state-owned – 40% stake in both operators).

As of now, only four apps offering VoIP can be used while in the United Arab Emirates, which are BOTIM, C'Me, VoiCo (by Du), and HIU Messenger.

If you intend to call with the four apps, you do have to purchase Internet Calling packages (up to 52.50 AED for monthly access).

Or you can use a VPN and use whatever app you want (and not be spied on).

The United Arab Emirates use the United Arab Emirates Dirham with the symbol AED (which will be used throughout this guide).

However, prices are often listed in د.إ For example, 25 AED = 25 د.إ .

For reference, below are some exchange rates between AED and USD (US Dollars):

For up-to-date AED:your currency (let's say USD) exchange rates, use the Wise Currency Converter tool.

Below, I will guide you through Etisalat UAE, Du, Swyp & Virgin Mobile UAE, and go through:

With that being said, let’s see what the United Arab Emirates have to offer to us.

Etisalat UAE, just Etisalat, is the largest mobile operator in the United Arab Emirates. It also won the prestigious award for having the world's fastest mobile network of 2020.

It is also the best mobile operator in all aspects in the United Arab Emirates.

Etisalat, as a company, is active in Africa, Asia & the Middle East.

Etisalat uses the following frequencies:

Etisalat has the best coverage in the United Arab Emirates.

Basically, all of the populated areas are covered by Etisalat. You may, however, have to deal with 2G or 3G in deserts.

Below is Etisalat's coverage map produced by Speedtest:

However, click here to see Etisalat's official coverage map.

You can buy an Etisalat SIM card, called Wasel Prepaid Line, for 55 AED (57.75 AED with VAT) with 1 GB with the first recharge (valid for 7 days) in Etisalat stores and from authorized resellers. It is also possible to get Etisalat SIM cards at Abu Dhabi International Airport, Dubai International Airport & Sharjah International Airport.

Short-term travelers can also take advantage of the Etisalat Visitor Line – Etisalat's tourist SIM card.

They come in four variants, which are shown below:

Be aware that tourists and travelers will most likely only get Visitor Lines when getting an Etisalat SIM card, not a Wasel Prepaid Line SIM card.

Etisalat employees are often strict with this policy.

Moreover, the validity of your Visitor Line SIM card is tied to the validity of your visa, which could mean a shorter validity than advertised.

Migrant workers, who often read this guide, do not have to worry about the aforementioned policy – you can simply get a regular Etisalat SIM card and take advantage of many of the plans mentioned later.

Dial *101# to access the Etisalat menu.

It is also possible to get an Etisalat eSIM for the same price as a regular SIM card.

To use an Etisalat eSIM, you need to have one of the following devices:

Note that the Emirati mobile operators require your identification (passport) for eSIMs and physical SIM cards.

Therefore, if you wish to get an eSIM for United Arab Emirates without personal detail capturing, you can get the United Arab Emirates (Burj Mobile) eSIM from Airalo.

You have these three options:

Note: Phone Travel Wiz reader popularity ranking was updated in March based on data up to the 13th of March (2023 data only)

Finally, you can get United Arab Emirates eSIMs from Holafly:

Use code PHONETRAVELWIZ for exclusive deals when getting Holafly eSIMs, AND get an additional 5% off!

Airalo recently introduced an eSIM for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA): Menalink. The Menalink eSIM follows the popular Eurolink eSIM for 39 European countries, the fairly new Asialink eSIM for 14 Asian countries & the super new Latamlink eSIM for 19 Latin American countries.

The Menalink eSIM comes in three variants: 1 GB/7 days – most popular with PTW readers, 2 GB/15 days & 3 GB/30 days – very popular with PTW readers, to be used in United Arab Emirates and 14 other Middle Eastern and Northern African countries:

Etisalat has thirteen data-featured prepaid plans:

All Etisalat plans can be purchased by dialing *101#.

I will list all the prices in AED (Emirati Dirham).

To convert AED to your currency (let's say IND – Indian Rupee) with up-to-date exchange rates, use the Wise Currency Converter tool.

Click on the links above to jump to the plan you are interested in:

The Pinoy Pack is a plan targeted at Filipino migrant workers. It features data, minutes, and SMS.

The Pinoy Pack are combo plans with data (without 5G NR access), minutes & SMS.

Pinoy Pack can be activated by texting Pinoy to 1020:

1 only to the Philippines2 to other Pinoy Pack users

WaselGo is the base plan for the Wasel Prepaid Line. It featured data and Flexi Minutes (local & international minutes).

The WaselGo are combo plans with data (without 5G NR access).

WaselGo can be activated by dialing *101#:

WaselGo auto-renews. To disable auto-renewal, dial *101#.

The Monthly Addons are combo plans with data and Flexi Minutes (local & international minutes).

Although the name includes addons, they can be purchased as standalone plans.

The Monthly Addons are combo plans with data (without 5G NR access).

Monthly Addons can be purchased by dialing *101#:

Monthly Addons auto-renew. To disable auto-renewal, dial *101#.

Wasel Flexi is a new type of plan allowing you to be flexible with your choice in data and Flexi Minutes (local & international minutes).

You can often get 1 GB bonus data during promotions.

The Wasel Flexi are combo plans with data (without 5G NR access).

Wasel Flexi can be activated by dialing *101*50#:

The Visitor Line is a prepaid pack exclusively for visitors to the UAE. Benefits include loads of data, voice minutes and Wi-Fi connectivity as well as discounts at restaurants and attractions.

The Visitor Line are combo plans with data (without 5G NR access).

Visitor Line can be activated by dialing *101*#:

The Super Hour Data Access plans are data-only bundles with unlimited data (at slow speeds – 3 Mbps) for 1 or 3 hour(s).

The Super Hour Data Access are data plans (without 5G NR access).

Super Hour Data Access can be purchased by dialing *800*5#:

The Everyday Data Packs for Prepaid (Local Data) are data-only bundles.

The Every Data Packs are data plans (without 5G NR access).

Everyday Data Packs for Prepaid (Local Data) can be bought by dialing *101#:

The One Time Data Packs are data-only plans with social media data allowances (BOTIM, C'ME, Facebook, Facebook Messenger, Instagram, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Twitter, WeChat, & WhatsApp).

The One Time Data Packs are data plans (without 5G NR access).

One Time Data Packs can be activated by dialing *170*1# or *101#:

1 BOTIM (chat only), C'ME (chat only), Facebook, Facebook Messenger, Instagram, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Twitter, WeChat, & WhatsApp

The Auto Renewal Data Packs are data-only plans that auto-renew (can be disabled by dialing *170*1# or *101#).

The Auto Renewal Data Packs are data plans (without 5G NR access).

Auto Renewal Data Packs can be activated by dialing *170*1# or *101#:

The Visitor Line Data Packages are data-only plans with social media data allowances (BOTIM, C'ME, Facebook, Facebook Messenger, Instagram, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Twitter, WeChat, & WhatsApp) for the Visitor Line.

The Visitor Line Data Packages are data plans (without 5G NR access).

Visitor Line Data Packages can be bought by dialing *170*1# or *101#:

1 BOTIM (chat only), C'ME (chat only), Facebook, Facebook Messenger, Instagram, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Twitter, WeChat, & WhatsApp

The Social Network Package/Social Data Plan is a 1 GB data bundle for Facebook, LinkedIn & WhatsApp, costing 49 AED valid for 30 days.

The Social Network Package are add-ons (without 5G NR access).

It can be activated by dialing *170#.

1 Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter & WhatsApp2 1 GB high-speed data. Then unlimited data at 64 Kbps

Social Network Package/Social Data Plan auto-renews. To disable auto-renewal, dial *170# or *101#.

The Everyday Data Packs for Prepaid (Social Data) is a data-only plan for various social media apps (BOTIM, C'ME, Facebook, Facebook Messenger, GoChat Messenger, HiU Messenger, Instagram, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Twitter, Voico, WeChat, & WhatsApp).

The Every Data Packs are add-ons (without 5G NR access).

Everyday Data Packs for Prepaid (Social Data) can be activated by dialing *101#:

1 BOTIM (chat only), C'ME (chat only), Facebook, Facebook Messenger, GoChat Messenger (chat only), HiU Messenger (chat only), Instagram, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Twitter, Voico (chat only), WeChat, & WhatsApp

The Daily Plan Packs for Prepaid is an add-on plan.

The Daily Plans are add-ons (without 5G NR access).

Daily Data Add-ons for Prepaid can be activated by dialing *101#:

1 BOTIM (chat only), C'ME (chat only), Facebook, Facebook Messenger, HiU Messenger (chat only), Instagram, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Twitter, WeChat, & WhatsApp

Your Flexi Minutes and SMS can be used to call and the following countries:

Note: leave anything not mentioned above untouched.

Jump back to Table of Contents.

Du is the other mobile network operator in the United Arab Emirates.

It is mostly popular among the migrant worker community because it used to target that target group initially.

Now, it is just the other option in the country.

Du uses the following frequencies:

Du has excellent coverage throughout the United Arab Emirates.

Do note that coverage may be lacking in deserts.

Below is Du's coverage map produced by Speedtest:

However, click here to see Du's official coverage map.

You can buy a Du SIM card for 55 AED (57.75 AED with VAT) in Du stores. It is also possible to get Etisalat SIM cards at Abu Dhabi International Airport, Dubai International Airport & Sharjah International Airport.

Dial *135# to access the Du menu.

It is also possible to get a Du eSIM for the same price as a regular SIM card.

However, if you transfer from a standard SIM card to an eSIM, the upgrade fee is 20 AED.

To use a Du eSIM, you need to have one of the following devices:

Note that the Emirati mobile operators require your identification (passport) for eSIMs and physical SIM cards.

Therefore, if you wish to get an eSIM for United Arab Emirates without personal detail capturing, you can get the United Arab Emirates (Burj Mobile) eSIM from Airalo.

You have these three options:

Note: Phone Travel Wiz reader popularity ranking was updated in March based on data up to the 13th of March (2023 data only)

Finally, you can get United Arab Emirates eSIMs from Holafly:

Use code PHONETRAVELWIZ for exclusive deals when getting Holafly eSIMs, AND get an additional 5% off!

Airalo recently introduced an eSIM for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA): Menalink. The Menalink eSIM follows the popular Eurolink eSIM for 39 European countries, the fairly new Asialink eSIM for 14 Asian countries & the super new Latamlink eSIM for 19 Latin American countries.

The Menalink eSIM comes in three variants: 1 GB/7 days – most popular with PTW readers, 2 GB/15 days & 3 GB/30 days – very popular with PTW readers, to be used in United Arab Emirates and 14 other Middle Eastern and Northern African countries:

Short-term visitors can also take advantage of the Du Visitor SIM.

Prior to the pandemic, Du handed out SIM cards for free with some credit and 20 MB of data.

However, it is unknown whether Du still does this or not. Let me know.

The Visitor SIM is sold in the following variants:

Although the validities of the plans are valid for up to 14 days, the Visitor SIM is valid for 90 days.

It can be extended for another 90 days by dialing *135#.

Only Visitor SIM plans, the ones mentioned earlier, can be added to Visitor SIMs.

No opt-in is required if you want to renew a plan.

Simply recharge to the corresponding amount, and the plan will automatically be activated.

Du has five data-featured prepaid plans:

I will list all the prices in AED (Emirati Dirham).

To convert AED to your currency (let's say IND – Indian Rupee) with up-to-date exchange rates, use the Wise Currency Converter tool.

Click on the links above to jump to the plan you are interested in:

With Prepaid Flexi, you can customize your plan by setting how much data and how many minutes you want for 28 days.

However, all plans need a minimum of 2 GB of data and 30 minutes (49 AED).

The Prepaid Flexi are combo plans with data (without 5G NR access), minutes & SMS.

Prepaid Flexi can be set up by dialing *135#:

The Youth box is a bundle of our popular ‘Flexi Yearly Prepaid Plan’, a ‘Music Pass’, and wireless over-the-ear headphones especially created for the Youth.

The Youth Box are combo plans with data (without 5G NR access).

Youth Box can be set up by dialing *135#:

1 free internet calling through BOTIM & VOICO app

The SIM will be given to you by the Dubai Immigration Officer at Passport Control. The free SIM will have a Welcome Bonus of 1 GB local data valid for 24 hours. In addition, you can also enjoy non-telecom benefits by downloading the ALSAADA app and getting discounts on retail, dining and attractions in Dubai.

The Du Tourist SIM are combo plans with data (without 5G NR access).

Du Tourist SIM can be set up by dialing *135#:

The add-ons are data add-ons. They cannot be purchased as standalone plans.

The Add-Ons are add-ons with data (without 5G NR access).

Add-ons can be purchased by dialing *135#:

1 first 155 MB @ 192 Kbps. Unlimited @ 72 Kbps thereafter

The Internet Calling Packs allow you to make VoIP calls with BOTIM, C'ME, HiU Messenger & Voico.

The following Internet Calling Packs are available:

1 auto-renews. To stop auto-renewal, text Stop Netcall to 13552 BOTIM, C'ME, HiU Messenger & Voico

Your Flexi Minutes can be used to call the following countries:

Note: leave anything not mentioned above untouched.

Jump back to Table of Contents.

Swyp UAE, not to be confused with the other Swyp app, is the youth brand by Etisalat targeting 18- to 29-year-olds – anyone 30 years or older cannot get a Swyp SIM card.

Swyp also uses the Etisalat network.

To learn about Swyp's frequencies, jump back to Etisalat's frequencies.

Swyp is an Etisalat MVNO, meaning Swyp uses the Etisalat network and does not have its own mobile infrastructure.

To find out what to expect in terms of coverage with Swyp, jump to the Etisalat Coverage section.

Swyp SIM cards are sold together with its main plan, called The Core, for 99 AED (103.95 AED with VAT) in Etisalat stores and partner stores (Burjuman, Burj Dubai, City Centre, City Mall, Deira, Downtown, Dubai Mall, Festival, Ibn Battuta, Mall Mall of the Emirates & Mercato Shopping Mall).

The Core includes 1 GB of data, “unlimited” social media data for select apps (including Facebook, Facebook Messenger, Instagram, Snapchat & WhatsApp – 3 GB at full speed, then throttled), unlimited UAE WIFI data, and 120 Flexi Minutes (to about 100 countries).

Syp has no eSIMs.

Note that the Emirati mobile operators require your identification (passport) for eSIMs and physical SIM cards.

Therefore, if you wish to get an eSIM for United Arab Emirates without personal detail capturing, you can get the United Arab Emirates (Burj Mobile) eSIM from Airalo.

You have these three options:

Note: Phone Travel Wiz reader popularity ranking was updated in March based on data up to the 13th of March (2023 data only)

Finally, you can get United Arab Emirates eSIMs from Holafly:

Use code PHONETRAVELWIZ for exclusive deals when getting Holafly eSIMs, AND get an additional 5% off!

Airalo recently introduced an eSIM for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA): Menalink. The Menalink eSIM follows the popular Eurolink eSIM for 39 European countries, the fairly new Asialink eSIM for 14 Asian countries & the super new Latamlink eSIM for 19 Latin American countries.

The Menalink eSIM comes in three variants: 1 GB/7 days – most popular with PTW readers, 2 GB/15 days & 3 GB/30 days – very popular with PTW readers, to be used in United Arab Emirates and 14 other Middle Eastern and Northern African countries:

Swyp SIM cards can be recharged with Etisalat top-up vouchers or the Swyp app (Android/iOS).

The following top-up options (recharge cards & eVouchers) are available:

To top up your Swyp SIM card with Etisalat top-up vouchers, dial *120*VoucherCode#.

For example, if your voucher code is 123456, you would dial *120*123456*1#.

You can also tell the salesperson how much credit you want, your phone number, pay, and they will top up your SIM card with the POS system.

Your balance can be checked on the Swyp app.

The Core is the only plan you can get with Swyp. However, add-ons can be purchased to boost your allowances.

I will list all the prices in AED (Emirati Dirham).

To convert AED to your currency (let's say IND – Indian Rupee) with up-to-date exchange rates, use the Wise Currency Converter tool.

The following add-ons are available:

1 for Instagram & Snapchat only

Your Flexi Minutes can be used to call the following countries:

Note: leave anything not mentioned above untouched.

Jump back to the Table of Contents.

Virgin Mobile UAE, just Virgin Mobile, is a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) using the Du network. It is actually owned by Du.

Virgin Mobile, as a brand, is active in Europe, Mexico, the Middle East & South America.

To learn about Virgin Mobile's frequencies, jump back to Du's frequencies.

Virgin Mobile is a Du MVNO, meaning Virgin Mobile uses the Du network and does not have its own mobile infrastructure.

To find out what to expect in terms of coverage with Virgin Mobile, jump to the Du Coverage section.

Virgin Mobile SIM cards are free in Virgin Mobile stores and partner stores, but they are sold together with a plan, meaning you have to spend at least 36.75 AED (with VAT) to get a Virgin Mobile SIM card. It is also possible to get Virgin Mobile SIM cards at Abu Dhabi International Airport, Dubai International Airport & Sharjah Airport.

You can also get a Virgin Mobile SIM card delivered within 60 minutes for free in all Emirates (Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah, Sharjah & Umm Al Quwain).

However, results have been mixed for short-term travelers, as you mostly need an Emirates ID to confirm your identity upon delivery.

Virgin Mobile has no eSIMs.

Note that the Emirati mobile operators require your identification (passport) for eSIMs and physical SIM cards.

Therefore, if you wish to get an eSIM for United Arab Emirates without personal detail capturing, you can get the United Arab Emirates (Burj Mobile) eSIM from Airalo.

You have these three options:

Note: Phone Travel Wiz reader popularity ranking was updated in March based on data up to the 13th of March (2023 data only)

Finally, you can get United Arab Emirates eSIMs from Holafly:

Use code PHONETRAVELWIZ for exclusive deals when getting Holafly eSIMs, AND get an additional 5% off!

Airalo recently introduced an eSIM for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA): Menalink. The Menalink eSIM follows the popular Eurolink eSIM for 39 European countries, the fairly new Asialink eSIM for 14 Asian countries & the super new Latamlink eSIM for 19 Latin American countries.

The Menalink eSIM comes in three variants: 1 GB/7 days – most popular with PTW readers, 2 GB/15 days & 3 GB/30 days – very popular with PTW readers, to be used in United Arab Emirates and 14 other Middle Eastern and Northern African countries:

Virgin Mobile top-up vouchers are sold in Virgin Mobile stores and partner stores. However, you are encouraged to use the Virgin Mobile UAE app (Android/iOS) for everything, including recharging.

The following top-up options are available:

To top up your Virgin Mobile SIM card, dial *149*VoucherCode#.

For example, if your voucher code is 123456, you would dial *149*123456#.

You can also tell the salesperson how much credit you want, your phone number, pay, and they will top up your SIM card with the POS system.

Your balance can be checked on the Virgin Mobile UAE app.

Virgin Mobile has three data-featured prepaid plans:

All Virgin Mobile plans can be activated on the Virgin Mobile UAE app.

I will list all the prices in AED (Emirati Dirham).

To convert AED to your currency (let's say IND – Indian Rupee) with up-to-date exchange rates, use the Wise Currency Converter tool.

Click on the links above to jump to the plan you are interested in.

The Pre-Made plans are bundles made by Virgin Mobile for those who do not want to build their own plan or want to see what there is to offer.

The following Pre-Made Plans are available:

With Build Your Own Plan, you can set how much data, local minutes/SMS, and international minutes/SMS you want.

Note that every plan needs at least 2 GB and 50 local minutes/SMS, meaning that the plan's minimal price is 79 AED.

And each plan is valid for 28 days.

The data options for Build Your Plan start from 2 GB (79 AED) to 100 GB (1000 AED).

You need at least 2 GB to activate Build Your Plan.

Below are your options:

1 roaming pass and data not available for sharing

The local minutes/SMS options for Build Your Plan start from 50 local minutes/SMS (79 AED) to unlimited local minutes/SMS (225 AED).

The local minutes/SMS allowances are combined, not separate.

You need at least 50 minutes/SMS to activate Build Your Plan.

Below are your options:

The international minutes/SMS options for Build Your Plan start from 50 local minutes/SMS (88 AED) to 1000 international minutes/SMS (430 AED).

The international minutes/SMS allowances are combined, not separate – and they are optional.

Below are your options:

Your international minutes/SMS can be used to call the following countries:

The Boosters are data, local minutes, and international minutes add-ons. They cannot be purchased as standalone plans.

The Data Boosters are data add-ons starting from 256 MB (15.75 AED) to 50 GB (210 AED).

Below are your options:

The Local Minutes Boosters are international call add-ons starting from 50 local minutes (15.75 AED with VAT) to 200 local minutes (52.50 AED with VAT).

Below are your options:

The International Minutes Boosters are international call add-ons starting from 25 international minutes (15.75 AED with VAT) to 100 international minutes (52.50 AED with VAT).

Below are your options:

Note: leave anything not mentioned above untouched.

Jump back to the Table of Contents.

Getting a SIM card from Etisalat or Du would do you well when considering an Emirati SIM card.


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  1. Download Google Pay on phones running Android 5.0 (Lollipop) or higher.
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