One of the first things you have to do upon arriving in Dubai is to get a local SIM card and mobile phone number. This will aid you immensely during the settling process and, of course, later on. It will be much easier for you to use a local phone number as well as much cheaper. If you need your original number, you can readily get a new mobile phone along with a SIM card.
You can choose between two mobile phone operators in Dubai – Etisalat and Du. This might not seem to be a great selection of options, but both service providers have a wide range of packages to suit any requirements and preferences. Both telecommunication companies offer all standard mobile services making and receiving phone calls, texting and receiving text messages, mobile internet browsing and so on. They have all standard services for iPhone and Blackberry as well. Still, some Blackberry services will not be available from October 2010 due to stricter government regulations.
The main difference in the mobile telecommunications services offered by the providers is that Etisalat charges phone calls per minute while Du charges per second. This might not be a huge difference, but it is important when you are on a budget. If you are making short phone calls only, you will find the charging per second to be the cheaper option. If you talk on the phone for long, the minute charges are more likely to save you some money. Generally, you should have an idea of how much a calling minute will cost you when choosing a service package. The charge is usually 30 fils.
There are two types of services that you can get from both Etisalat and Du – standard, post paid, or pre-paid. If you decide to sign a contract, you will have to pay around 300 Dhs in the form of an initial fee. The annual renewal of the contract will cost you 100 Dhs every year. Of course, you can get to pay less for a SIM card, if you take advantage of a promotional package.
Using pre-paid mobile phone services also has its advantages. You do not have to deal with paying specific fees, apart from the initial one which is around 165 Dhs. You will get some start up credit when paying this fee which is yet another benefit. You pay for what you use only. In addition, it is much more convenient to get a pre-paid SIM card when you first arrive in Dubai than to spend time going over and choosing from the different standard packages.
You can get a pre-paid card or sign a contract in any of the offices of the telecommunication operators, in business centers as well as in the in the offices of authorized resellers. You have to have your passport and residency visa with you. If you are buying a pre-paid mobile phone card, you should have it activated within one hour of purchase or it will automatically get blocked.