Internet in Dubai: Connecting with the World

10:13 pm  |  13.03.2024

Favorable rates for tourists and foreigners, fast, and affordable Internet in Dubai are key features highlighted in this article.

Dubai has not only recovered from the pandemic but has surpassed pre-pandemic levels in tourist arrivals, with over 17 million people visiting the city in 2023, many choosing to stay.

Every visitor, whether foreigner or tourist, requires Internet access for activities such as maps, translators, and reservations, which are essential in the modern world. In a technologically advanced city like Dubai, reliable Internet connectivity is particularly crucial.

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Understanding the Internet Landscape in the UAE

  • The UAE has formal censorship laws governing content and communication, facilitated by its limited number of Internet service providers.
  • Under UAE law, residents and visitors are prohibited from publishing sexually explicit, certain political, gambling-related, LGBT, and certain security-sensitive materials online. Additionally, the use of dating sites and apps is banned.
  • Recent changes in censorship have impacted conventional means of communication, with voice information exchange requiring licensing, thus limiting the functionality of services like Skype, FaceTime, and Snapchat.
While VPN services are commonly used in other countries to bypass blocks, they are illegal in the UAE for both residents and tourists. Instead, using permitted services such as Zoom or Google Meets is advised.

Internet Infrastructure and Coverage

Dubai boasts standard network parameters, including 4G and 5G coverage, with an average speed of 90 megabits per second. Both mobile and cable Internet options are available, and WiFi connectivity is provided in hotels, restaurants, and airports.

Next, we’ll delve into a detailed examination of operators and tariffs for both cable and mobile Internet in Dubai.

Cable Internet Services in Dubai

Cable internet services in Dubai primarily cater to expatriates and locals, with stringent requirements for connection.

To access cable internet, individuals must possess an Emirates ID and be at least 21 years old. The connection process typically spans at least a week, during which the necessary equipment is delivered, often bundled with cable television services.

The main providers of cable internet services in Dubai are du and Etisalat, both offering various packages at different price points.

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  • Basic Plan: $105 per month (Promotional Price: $74)Claimed download speed: 500 Mbit/s (Actual speeds: 250 Mbps during normal times, 80 Mbps during peak periods).
  • Includes router (must be returned at contract termination), TV package (English, Arabic, or South Asian), HDTV box, and a one-year subscription to Disney+.
  • Premium Plan: $273 per month (Promotional Price: $246)Claimed download speed: 1 Gbit/s (Actual speeds: around 800 Mbit/s, up to 250 Mbit/s during peak periods)
  • Includes router (returned at contract termination), choice of TV package with movie options, 2 HDTV boxes, and a Disney+ Shahid VIP Annual Subscription.


  • Offers similar packages to du.
  • Prices range from $81 to $221 per month (with promotional discounts).
  • Instead of Disney+, subscribers receive an Amazon Prime subscription.

Mobile Internet Services in Dubai

Mobile internet services in Dubai cater to tourists as well as locals and expatriates.

Tourist Packages

Tourists can conveniently obtain SIM cards free of charge at the airport, with various mobile internet packages available.


  • Offers seven tariffs for tourists, including:$13 for 28 days: 2 GB of data and 30 minutes of local calls.
  • $37 for 28 days: 10 GB of data and 30 minutes of local calls.
  • $54 for 7 days: Unlimited internet and 100 minutes of local calls.
  • $135 for 28 days: Unlimited internet and 400 minutes of local calls.


  • Provides a Visitor Line program with six tariffs valid for 28 days, similar to du’s offerings. Prices range from $13 to $55, with varying data allowances and call minutes.
  • Additional bonuses include discounts on taxi services upon purchasing mobile internet packages.

Resident Packages

Residents, including expatriates holding resident visas, have specific mobile internet packages available at different price points.


  • Offers packages starting at $15 for 30 days, including data allowances and call minutes.


  • Provides packages starting at $7 for 30 days, offering various data allowances and call minutes.

Accessing Free Internet in Dubai

Dubai takes pride in its reputation as a cutting-edge city and aspires to be the global hub for digital innovation. By 2023, Dubai had installed over 24,000 free WiFi access points across the city, with the number continually growing. These hotspots are strategically located in various public areas, including beaches, parks, and shopping centers.

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Dubai Mall

Information about available WiFi points can be easily obtained through specialized websites and applications like wifimap. Some notable locations offering free WiFi include:

  • Mall of the Emirates
  • Dubai Mall
  • Dubai International Airport

Usage Limitations

Each access point provides 1 hour of complimentary network access. Although the connection speed may not be the fastest, it is adequate for tasks such as checking emails, sending messages, or using maps. Therefore, for individuals with minimal communication needs during a short stay in Dubai, purchasing a SIM card may not be necessary.

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