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Picture used for illustrative purposes only. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Mobile phone connections are almost an essential living in the UAE. When you first land in the UAE, you do not even need to step out of the airport to get your hands on a Sim card.

Visitors to the UAE who are above the age of 18 are offered a free Sim card at airports, and they can select from either of the two service providers in the UAE – Etisalat or du.

Later, you can either buy a new Sim card or add data and talk-time to the one handed to you at the airport.

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How do I get the free Sim card?

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The tourist Sim pack that is available to visitors above the age of 18. Image Credit: Gulf News archives

Visitors over the age of 18 can get the Tourist Sim package, which comes preloaded with a free Sim card, three flexi minutes, 20mb data and one-month validity.

Tourists can add more calling minutes or data via three recharge options by du:

  1. Pay Dh25 and get 150 MB data – 10 flexible minutes, three-day validity
  2. Pay Dh55 and get 500 MB data - 20 flexible minutes, seven-day validity
  3. Pay Dh110 and get 2 GB data – 40 flexible minutes and 14-day validity

To activate the complimentary Sim, you need to insert the Sim card in your phone, dial *122# and follow instructions.

Documents needed for a free Sim card are ...

Passport and visit visa.

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Picture used for illustrative purposes only. Image Credit: Supplied

For new residents, though, you would need to register for a regular Sim card. You can  get mobile phone connections from both the providers - etisalat and du - with two options:

  1. Post-paid
  2. Pre-paid

What is the difference?

Pre-paid connections require a top-up, either using a phone card, which is available in different denominations (Dh25, Dh30, Dh50 and so on) from each provider or through other options like online payments or through your local bank. You can also find them in grocery stores.

Once you have topped up your phone, you can make calls and subscribe to data packages.

Post-paid connections require a lot more documentation to register for, and users receive a bill at the end of the month or billing cycle, which they have to pay by a due date.

Payment can be done through the providers’ apps, on their website, their kiosks or through most local banks.

What documents do I need?

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Picture used for illustrative purposes only. Image Credit: Supplied

etisalat

For a prepaid number, you need to provide:

  • Valid Emirates ID.

For a postpaid connection, you need to provide:

  • Valid Emirates ID.
  • Stamped salary certificate (minimum pay of Dh4,000)/vehicle registration and credit card (if you want to register for a plan connected with a device like an iPhone or Samsung phone)

800101

The call centre number for etisalat. From an etisalat phone, you simply need to dial 101.

du

For a prepaid number, you need to provide:

  • Valid Emirates ID.

For a postpaid connection, you need to provide:

  • Valid Emirates ID.
  • Salary certificate or pay slip.
  • Any credit card (if you want to register for a plan connected with a device like an iPhone or Samsung phone).

Activation of the service takes anywhere from one hour to a few hours, depending on the authentication of documents.

How long is the Sim card valid for?

Users need to provide their updated Emirates ID every time their visa is renewed. Users are notified via text message for the need to update their identification documents, which can be done online.

If the documents are not updated in the time given, the Sim card's service is cancelled by the service provider.

800155

The call centre number for du. From a du phone, you simply need to dial 155.