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How to get data in Abu Dhabi?

iPhone settings to activate the eSIM
You can get plenty of cost effective data in Abu Dhabi through an eSIM
Table of contents If you are like us then you are using mobile data everywhere and access to the internet is essential. Whether it's contacting the rest of the family back home, map apps, late reservations or simply checking email mobile data is essential. If your contract or prepaid mobile data plan doesn't include international roaming for the United Arab Emirates you could be wondering what to do.

Our mobile phone provider at home offers 'included' data plans in Europe so normally when we're travelling we don't incur charges. However, that's not the case in the UAE so I spent a lot of time researching the best way to get data whilst in Abu Dhabi.


Using a relatively modern (a few years old) iPhone, I experimented very successfully with eSIMS. I won't explain the techniques here, but when you follow the instructions on the provider's website it's amazingly simple. You 'install' an eSIM alongside your physical SIM card on your phone. You then set within the settings of your phone that you want to use the eSIM when roaming and disable roaming on your normal SIM. It's far easier than it sounds and acts like a prepaid SIM.

iPhone settings to choose the eSIM
Once installed, just select when to use the eSIM.
But, where do you get an eSIM? I used Red Bull Mobile Data. Almost everywhere I went, apart from maybe in the middle of the desert, I was able to access data and send & receive messages etc. And the cost, compared to roaming, was amazing. RBM Data offered a trial 100mb for free which I used to check it all worked. But quickly within that I realised I was going to be able to use this so I paid for a 1GB connection, which cost just 5 Euros. That data lasted me the full 9 days we were there across both Abu Dhabi and Dubai for next to nothing and I could easily have ordered more. In fact it only ran out just as we arrived back at the airport. Just make sure that your card provider is happy with you paying in Euros and have a look at some more card or cash considerations before you go.

Overall feelings...

Easy to install, cost effective and worked well and it's not unlimited but you can buy what you need. I was able to share the data connection through a hotspot so we were both able to use it, and I'd happily use the same service whenever out of normal roaming areas.

More details through this link: RBD Data.