Dubai City Information Site

Cell Phones in Dubai

Hi, Sunil here to talk about cell phones in Dubai

I get all kinds of questions about cell phone usage in Dubai.

Many ask which phones they should take, what works and what doesn’t.

If you are going to be using cell phones in Dubai, make sure you take one that has a removable SIM chip.

So if you are from the US, Tmobile and Cingular phones have removable SIM technology (as of 2009).

All other phones have the SIM chip built in.

The other thing you need to ensure is that your phone is unlocked.

Many phones can be purchased unlocked already.

However if you got your phone when you signed a 1 or 2 year contract with a provider like Verizon for example, chances are your phone is unlocked.

There are many ways to unlock a phone. Call your service provider to start off.

If that does not work or it is too expensive, put an add to get it unlocked on Craigslist (works wonders). Lastly, just walk into a cell phone store (even if you are in Dubai) and have them unlock it for you. There are also several programs available online that you can use to do it yourself. Give that a try as well.

How do you know it’s unlocked? Simple. If you take out your SIM chip and put another SIM card from another provider and it works, then you know your phone is unlocked and can be used with any other SIM card.

Cell Phones in Dubai
So when you get to Dubai, ask or look for an Etisalat shop.

As of 2009, Etisalat is the single provider of service to cell phones in Dubai as well as Internet.

There is an Etisalat shop right after you clear the customs at the Dubai International Airport.

You can only get a monthly cell phone contract in Dubai if you have residency (proof of resident Visa needed).

If you want a local number immediately, you'll have to get a pre-paid Etisalat card.

This is available in most grocery and convenience stores all over the place. There are also kiosks for these in every shopping mall.

If you want a permanent card, you will have to provide a copy of your passport/visa to the store and wait a couple months before getting your permanent Etisalat SIM card. Refilling minutes is cheap and you can buy credits at most convenience stores in Dubai.

Cell phones are generally cheaper in Dubai than they are in the UK or USA. This goes for most Dubai electronics in general. The relaxed trade laws and no taxes help lower the cost to the consumer. If you are looking for a cell phone in Dubai, look no further and other than Nokia brands.

Nokia is the biggest and most popular name worldwide for cell phones. They have the best, most innovative and affordable cell phones. To save more, shop online for a Nokia phone instead of the store and save even more money. This is how I have got all my cell phones to date.

Calling cards to Dubai

Kish and I also get a ton of questions on what are the best calling cards to Dubai. Because of the overwhelming number of questions, I decided to do a full write up on it and a detailed review including the rates you will pay and area codes to dial.

Over the years Kish and I have discovered the best cards and rates to not only Dubai but everywhere all around the world. You can read all about our experience and recommendations here.

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