Internet in the United Arab Emirates

internet in the UAE
Updated 2021-11-12 12:39

According to Global Media Insight report, in 2021, a whopping 99% of the UAE's ten million population were active internet users. There are various options granting you internet access as an expatriate living in the UAE. Mobile users account for 8.74 million, while active social media accounts are at 9.52 million.

Telecommunications network in the UAE

There are several options for internet access within the United Arab Emirates. Depending on where you have settled, you will have to choose a service provider based on coverage in your area. There are currently two providers, namely Etisalat and Du. Both companies have a set of optical fibre services, including a digital network. Furthermore, according to Etisalat, Abu Dhabi has the highest speed fibre optic on the planet.

Types of Internet connection in the UAE

You can compare the various packages and offers from both providers. Ultimately, this will depend on the speed and type of connection you require. You can connect to the Internet from 56 kb per second and up to 4 Mb per second depending on your package. Regarding broadband, you will be entitled to an ISDN, ADSL, or even wired connection, including cable television.

Internet connectivity and Wi-Fi in the UAE

In many hotels, restaurants, coffee shops, and even shopping malls, you will have access to free WiFi. There are also other wireless types of connection, for instance, prepaid Internet through broadband modems. You will simply need to recharge your account through prepaid cards.

If you do not have a phone, tablet or laptop, you can also have access to the internet in internet cafes for a small fee.

Internet packages in the UAE

Rates vary according to the different internet service providers. If you sign up with one of them, you will have to pay a subscription fee of about 100 to 200 dirhams. Some operators will charge per hour, especially for the low rate types of connection. The broadband connection will generally cost between 100 and 500 AED per month. Rates are fixed in advance by the internet company.

According to Etisalat, the packages start from AED 389/month to AED 2850/month depending on your package preference. This already includes the internet, TV and telephone.

Censorship in the UAE

Many websites, like Wikipedia, are censored in the United Arab Emirates as all web pages go through the Emirates Proxy. Some content is blocked on the basis of being offensive regarding religions, morals, and the government. For example, dating sites, websites pertaining to gay communities as well as pornography websites are not accessible to users. All VoIP services (such as Skype, Viber and Facebook video), as well as some social networks, are not allowed either.

Internet don'ts in the UAE

  • Viewing blocked content
  • Accessing pornography, nudity and vices website
  • Identity theft practices such as impersonation, fraud and phishing
  • Insult, slander and defamation or cyberbullying, in general
  • Invasion of privacy
  • Posting medical records of people other than you
  • Content that seeks to attack or overthrow the government
  • Fake news about the UAE government and economy
  • Deal with drugs and other illegal substances
  • Contempt against people of other races, religion
  • Sale of illicit items and services
  • Gambling
  • Solicitations such as donations and cash of any kind
  • Terrorism
  • Internet subscription in the UAE

For an internet connection at home, you can download an application form online to request the service. You will need documents such as your passport and your residency visa.

Useful links:



Map of free Wi-Fi hotspots in Dubai

Map of free Wi-Fi hotspots in Abu Dhabi

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.