WiFi network
While free public Wi-Fi is provided by telecom operators in UAE, many malls, coffee shops, parks and beaches also provide free internet access. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Dubai: Don’t have a data connection on your phone but need urgent access to the internet? In the UAE, there are several public places where you can access free Wi-Fi, provided by telecommunications service providers in the UAE.

Today, December 15, the Abu Dhabi Department of Municipalities and Transport (DMT) announced that it had expanded its free Wi-Fi network in the emirate to include 44 public parks, with free Wi-Fi to soon be available at Abu Dhabi Corniche beach and Al Bateen beach, too.

When you do access a public Wi-Fi network, it is important to keep in mind some basic safe browsing practices, like not sharing any personal information on websites when on the network (like entering your credit card detail for online shopping) and using a Virtual Private Network (VPN), when connected to a free Wi-Fi network. For more details, read the advisory that Abu Dhabi Digital Authority (ADDA) has issued in the past for users here.

So, let’s look at all the places in the UAE where you can get access to public Wi-Fi.

‘WiFi UAE’

Free high-speed services are available in public spaces across the UAE and are provided by telecom operator du.

According to du, in Wi-Fi UAE locations each internet session is one hour, after which a sponsored advertisement will play. After the advertisement, you can enjoy another hour of free Wi-Fi.

If you want to use the public Wi-Fi for a longer period, you can pay for the ‘Premium Wi-Fi’, which allows you to access high download and upload speeds and longer browsing time.

You can find all the locations in the UAE that offer du’s free Wi-Fi service here: https://www.du.ae/WiFi-uae/locations

How to connect to UAE Wi-Fi
1. Look for ‘@WiFi UAE’ in your device’s settings under the ‘Wi-Fi’ section. If you are in a public space like a mall or in the Dubai Metro, the network will pop-up in the list of Wi-Fi networks available. Select the network.
2. A pop-up page will appear with a registration form. Select – ‘Free Wi-Fi’ or ‘Premium Wi-Fi’. Then, enter your full name, nationality, and mobile number.
3. Enter the One-Time Password (OTP) sent to you via SMS. You can then use the free Wi-Fi.

Abu Dhabi – ‘Hala Wi-Fi’

In Abu Dhabi, you can access free Wi-Fi in places like the public buses, beaches, and public parks. From today, the Wi-Fi network’s coverage has been expanded to include 44 public parks - 19 in Abu Dhabi, 11 in Al Ain and 14 in Al Dhafra Region.

Dubai – du’s ‘UAE WiFi’

In Dubai, du provides wireless internet connection on all modes of public transportation. This includes the Dubai Metro, public buses, public taxis, air-conditioned bus stops, bus stations, ferries, and water buses.

Dubai's Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) and du provide free internet acess to public transportation commuters.

20240424 dubai metro
Dubai's Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) and du provide free internet access to public transportation commuters. Image Credit: RTA

Sharjah – Free Wi-Fi on intercity buses

In April 2023, the Sharjah Roads and Transport Authority (SRTA) launched a free internet service on intercity bus routes. Commuters can also enjoy free Wi-Fi at bus stations in Sharjah while waiting for their bus.

According SRTA, bus passengers do not have to provide their email address, mobile number or create an account with the transport authority to access the public Wi-Fi.

Ras Al Khaimah – Free Wi-Fi on intercity buses

The Ras Al Khaimah Transport Authority (RAKTA) also provides free Wi-Fi for passengers on its intercity bus routes and bus services to Musandam, Oman. The Wi-Fi is only available for one hour.

Free Wi-Fi in shopping malls, cafés, and airports

Most malls and shopping centre in the UAE also provide free Wi-Fi to visitors. To connect to the Wi-Fi, you will need to fill in a registration form with details like your mobile number, full name, and email address.

If you are at a coffee shop or restaurant, they may also have a free Wi-Fi network that customers can log in to. However, such networks are protected by passwords, which you can get from the staff at the establishment.

Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH), Dubai International Airport (DXB) and Sharjah International Airport also provide free Wi-Fi to all passengers.