My personal recommendation for mobile Internet in Dubai and Abu Dhabi (UAE), is to use a Prepaid 3G/LTE Data Sim Card:
The Pay as you go Data Sim Card costs AED 55. The following Data Packages are available:
40MB for AED 20, 300MB for AED 50, 1GB for AED 100, 3GB for AED 150, 4GB for AED 200, 10GB for AED 300 or 25GB for AED 500 each valid for 30 days.
The Prepaid Data Sim Card is available in all du-stores and they will normally take care of the activation and everything for you, so we were online and good to go within 15 minutes.
Very handy, a du-store is located next to the rental car offices, in the arrival hall of Dubai airport.
Alternatively I tested Etisalat on one of our trips to Dubai.
The Wasel Prepaid Sim Card costs AED 55. The following Data Packages are available:
250MB for AED 29, 1GB for AED 99, 3GB for AED 149, 7GB for AED 249, 10GB for AED 299 or 20GB for AED 449 each valid for 30 days.
The Prepaid Data Sim Card is available in all Etisalat stores and they take care of the activation and everything for you. Unfortunately the whole registration and activation process takes about 1 hour.
Mobile Internet in Dubai and Abu Dhabi – going online while travelling – using a USB-Stick / USB-Dongle or a mobile Wifi hotspot (Mifi) together with a local Prepaid 3G/LTE Data Sim is, thanks to decreasing prices, super popular like never before.
If you need access to the internet while on vacation or during a business trip in the UAE, a Prepaid Data Sim Card from a local provider is a good choice. This way you are bypassing the super expensive International Roaming fees of your provider at home and you have access to much larger data packages at an extremely low price.
Using a Prepaid also known as, Pay as you go service, abroad you don’t have to pay a monthly fee. Normally you pay a fixed amount upfront and therefore get a certain volume of data (GB) that you can use for a specified period of time.
To speak from my own experience, I can absolutely recommend using a mobile Wifi hotspot, also known as Mifi. Using you Smartphone (Tethering) is also possible but, you will run out of battery very fast. Another advantage of the Mifi over your Smartphone is the fact that you can leave your domestic sim card in your phone, which enables you to also keep your cell phone number.
The Mifi devices are often pocket-size and smaller than a smartphone. The battery will last between 4 to 6 hours. How they work, they start a Wifi Network and all devices, like Smartphones, Laptops, Tablets, etc. can go online at the same time using this Wifi Network. Depending on the Mifi model and your mobile network connection, you will get 3G or even very fast LTE speed.