A guide to mobile contracts in Dubai and which would best suit your needs
12 March 2018| Last updated on 15 March 2018
Whether it be a smart phone, or just a regular phone, it has become the rule and not the exception to have a mobile phone. So, when you move to Dubai, the question isn’t whether or not you are going to get a mobile number in your new country, but rather what option would best suit your needs.
Telecommunication Providers in Dubai
There are three mobile networks from which you can choose in Dubai: Du, Etisalat, and as of last year, Virgin Mobile. Du and Etisalat offers a large variety of options not just for yourself, but for your home as well. They both offer pre-paid and post-paid options for mobile numbers but also have phones that you can get with your packages, internet for your home and television subscriptions.
Virgin Mobile is, however, more the flexible, and “minimalist” mobile network provider in Dubai. There aren’t any pre-paid options available for Virgin Mobile, but they are extremely flexible with being able to control how much data, messages, call time and international call time you get every month.
Types of Mobile Plans in Dubai
Telecommunication service providers in Dubai offers two options to residents: a pre-paid and a post-paid plan. A pre-paid mobile plan has no binding contract and you pay for the services upfront, while a post-paid plan has a binding contract that is usually valid for two years. You will also receive a monthly invoice based on your usage or the agreed upon amount.
As mentioned above, the pre-paid mobile plan is the commitment free option where you purchase your data or calling minutes before using them. This is a very easy option to apply for and is generally risk free as there is no binding contract between you and your network provider.
To apply for your pre-paid number in Dubai you typically just need your valid Emirates ID. These sim cards are available at all Du and Etisalat stores as well as the Carrefour Hypermarkets.
Advantages of a pre-paid plan
- There are no long-term commitments
- It is easy to get the sim card
- You are in control of how much you spend every month
- No exit fees
Disadvantages of a pre-paid plan
- You might run out of calling minutes or data with no means to recharge it
- You are most likely paying slightly more than others using a post-paid plan
- Your calling minutes and data expires after a certain amount of days
Post-paid mobile plans in Dubai are convenient and hassle-free. You will receive an agreed upon amount of local calling minutes, data and depending on your package, international calling minutes at the beginning of every month and everything is paid for at the end of the month with a single debit order. Post-paid plans have a binding contract for usually 24 months.
You will require the following documentation to apply for a post-paid plan:
- Passport with residency visa or Emirates ID
- Valid tenancy contract (Ejari) or copy of ownership Title Deed with your name and physical address
Advantages of a post-paid plan
- It is convenient knowing it is paid for with an easy debit order each month
- Peace of mind knowing you’ll have calling minutes and data
- You can get the latest phones with your contract
- Not very flexible
- You have to pay the minimum monthly charges, even if you aren’t using the service
- Expensive cancellation fees
- The possibility of a bad credit record if you don’t pay your bill on time
Disadvantages of a pre-paid plan
If you decide to go with a post-paid plan, we recommend starting with a smaller package and increasing it if you see that it is too small for your needs. It is easy to upgrade to a larger package, but expensive to downgrade to a smaller package.