One of the trickiest parts of travelling has to be trying to keep in touch with loved ones on the go. Do you sign up to roaming packages and face big bills when you return home? Or do you spend the entire trip trying to search open Wi-Fi connections so you can upload all your Instagram moments for people to see in as real-time as possible?
One city in the Middle East has solved the dilemma for you. That’s because every traveller arriving at Dubai International Airport will now be handed a pack containing a local Sim card. The cards will be pre-loaded with three minutes of talk time and 20 MB of data so travellers can get online immediately. The Sim will be valid for up to 30 days and depending on how long you’re in the city for, you can recharge your Sim with one of three service packages.
A three-day bundle will cost Dhs25 and give you 150 MB of data plus 10 flexible minutes. If you’re there for a week, Dhs55 will get you 20 minutes of talk time and 500 MB. For travellers in Dubai for two weeks, the 14-day package costs Dhs110 and includes 2 GB of data plus 40 flexi-minutes. The packs will be given to travellers by passport control officials and anyone over the age of 18 is eligible, regardless of whether you’re there with a visit visa, a visa on arrival or even a transit visa status.
Travellers coming from other countries in the Gulf Cooperation Council – that’s Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman – who don’t need a visa to go to the United Arab Emirates will also get the option of taking a free Sim pack. The move is part of a Happiness Project by Dubai’s Smart Government. They have paired up with local telecom communications company Du to provide the service.
Major General Mohammad Al Marri, head of Dubai’s General Directorate of Residency and Foreign Affairs announced the news at a press conference in the emirate. He said: “The project aims to contribute to the achievement of the Dubai happiness agenda which is being implemented by Dubai Smart, and to make Dubai visitors’ experience a smooth and enjoyable visit.”
"We are committed to strengthening our efforts in this area by enabling visitors to enjoy excellent communication services," he concluded. The initiative is taking place across all terminals at DXB airport and the Sim cards will be linked to passenger data collected by immigration officials from travel documents.
By Hayley Skirka