UAE to give free mobile phone SIM cards to tourists

Dubai: Tourists visiting the United Arab Emirates will be given free mobile phone SIM cards with 20 MB data as a gift without providing any documentation, a media report on Friday quoted authorities as saying.

The Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship made the announcement in Abu Dhabi, saying that the SIM cards will also include free international calling minutes and text messages.

The free tourist-friendly SIM cards will be valid for a month and they will get automatically renewed if the tourist extends their visa, the Gulf News reported.

Colonel Khamees Al Kaabi, executive director for Musanada Services at the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship and Charbel Fawaz Litany, chairman and CEO of TeleKomNow signed the agreement in the matter on Tuesday.

Tourists will get the SIM card from the passport control officer on arrival as a gift. It will contain data and talk time, which they can recharge anywhere in the country, Litany was quoted as saying by the paper.

He said that the SIM cards would be available within a month and will contain 20MB of data, three minutes talk time (local or international) with five free SMSs depending on the usage of minutes.

Etisalat and du will be the service providers for this new facility to tourists and the services will remain the same throughout the year, Litany added.

It will be valid as long as the tourist stays in the country, and upon the extension of their visa, the card will automatically get validated until the expiry of the visa, he said.

Tourists don't need to do anything and no documentation is required to obtain the card, he added.

Similar services were announced for tourists in Dubai last month by the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) where they can enjoy a free SIM card complete with complimentary talk time and data upon their arrival at the airport.

Handed out at immigration, once the tourist inserts the card and enters their identification and arrival dates, their service will be immediately activated and within two minutes the tourist can use the facility.

Major General Mohammad Al Merri, Director-General of GDRFA, said the SIM card is valid for one month with three minutes talk time and 20mb free data.

The initiative is the first of its kind in the world. Dubai is the first destination in the world to provide free SIM cards to visitors, Al Merri said.


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