Are you planning your trip to Saudi Arabia and looking for the best e-sim card to stay connected and avoid high roaming charges? This is a complete guide with everything you need to know about using an e-sim card when traveling to Saudi Arabia and a comparison of the best Saudi Arabia e-sim cards in 2024.

Don’t waste money on high roaming charges, read my recommendations below and order an e-sim card for Saudi Arabia on the internet and get connected in just a couple minutes. Below you will find a Saudi Arabia e-sim comparison, up to date prices as per April 2024, all specifications and my recommendations.

This guide will also show you where and when to order an e-sim card for Saudi Arabia, answer all your FAQ about using e-sim cards, a comparison with local prepaid sim cards for Saudi Arabia and of course links to directly order your e-sim card for traveling to Saudi Arabia.

Since 2012 I am already traveling the world full time and throughout the years I turned my passion for traveling into a lifestyle and became a full time nomadic travel blogger. That is why I constantly get to a different country and pretty much every week I need to look for a new sim card to stay connected.

In 2023 I visited for example 34 different countries so imagine how many different prepaid and e-sim cards I used throughout the year.

In the past I used to buy a local prepaid sim card on arrival in every country, but nowadays I mostly use e-sim cards to stay connected when traveling abroad. On my latest trip to Saudi Arabia I tested the below recommended Saudi Arabia e-sim cards for tourists.

Helping other travelers to save money while traveling the world is one of the reasons I started this travel blog. Providing essential travel tips is what made me start writing sim card guides from every country I visited and now on Traveltomtom you can already find more than 200 sim card guides from all over the world.

Traveltomtom also wrote e-sim card guides for: Japan, SwitzerlandMoroccoMexicoVietnamSingaporePhilippinesMalaysia, New Zealand, Australia, Hong Kong, China, Indonesia, Thailand, Asia, Turkey, Egypt, Dubai, BrazilEurope, United Kingdom, Italy, USA, international e-sim cards and many more.

So next time you are planning your adventure abroad come check out Traveltomtom for the latest prepaid sim card and e-sim card advice for your holiday destination. Bookmark Traveltomtom and let me help you save money!

Let me start with giving you my e-sim card recommendation for Saudi Arabia in 2024. These are my favorite e-sim cards for traveling to Saudi Arabia in 2024.

My recommendation

Traveltomtom recommends the following two e-sim cards for traveling to Saudi Arabia:

1. Airalo e-sim for Saudi Arabia - $49 USD 

  • 25 GB data 
  • valid for 45 days 
  • 5G ready
  • Operates on the Zain network
  • data-only e-sim
  • valid in Saudi Arabia only
  • $1.96 USD per Gigabyte

2. SimOptions Middle East e-sim - $24.90 USD

  • 10 GB data
  • valid for 20 days
  • 4G/LTE
  • data-only e-sim
  • valid in Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar and Kuwait
  • $2.49 USD per Gigabyte

The simple reason why Traveltomtom recommends the Airalo e-sim card for Saudi Arabia is that it is the best value e-sim with the lowest cost per day Gigabyte.

The rate of only $1.96 USD per Gigabyte is the cheapest available for Saudi Arabia e-sims. Click here to order this Airalo e-sim card for Saudi Arabia.

Airalo has many more e-sim card plans for Saudi Arabia, starting from just $5 USD.

The Airalo e-sim cards for Saudi Arabia are 5G ready, but data-only and do not come with a phone number. Incoming and outgoing calls and sms are not supported with Airalo e-sims for Saudi Arabia.

The other recommendation is an e-sim card for Saudi Arabia with unlimited data via SimOptions. Traveltomtom has been using Airalo e-sim cards for nearly 5 years now and never had an issue.

This SimOptions e-sim card plan for Saudi Arabia only supports 4G/LTE. These are data-only e-sims and do not come with a phone number. Which means incoming and outgoing calls and sms are not supported.

SimOptions has more e-sim card plans with unlimited data for Saudi Arabia. Some are even 5G ready and their e-sim plans start from $5.90 USD. More about it in my comparison below.

Is Saudi Arabia one of your stops on a trip around the world then you can also look into getting an e-sim card for world travelers. There are a bunch of e-sim cards that cover multiple countries and some are great for traveling to Europe, Asia and America.

There are 2 very important things to check before ordering an e-sim card for Saudi Arabia or in general before using an e-sim card.

Unlocked phones only

Make sure your phone is unlocked. E-sim cards for tourists only work in unlocked phones. If you are not sure if your phone is unlocked then contact your mobile internet provider in your home country.

In general phones from Europe, Asia and the Middle East tend to be unlocked. Phones from North America are often locked.

If your smartphone is locked that means it does not allow another prepaid sim card or e-sim card to operate in the device. You can easily unlock your phone, but depending on your mobile internet provider you will be charged a fee for unlocking your phone.

E-sim compatible phones only

Second, and equally important: e-sim cards only work if your smartphone supports e-sim cards, also called e-sim compatible. All newer smartphones support e-sim cards. If you are not sure if your phone is e-sim compatible then simply go to Google and type in your mobile phone model in the search bar and ask if it is e-sim compatible. You will get the answer instantly. 

If your phone is NOT e-sim compatible then there is no other solution and you can NOT use an e-sim card for traveling to Saudi Arabia.

However, you can still order a sim card for Saudi Arabia on the internet before your trip. Find out everything you need to know about international sim cards for traveling abroad in 2024.

Comparison of the best e-sim cards for Saudi Arabia

Buying an e-sim card on arrival in Saudi Arabia is still not possible. None of the mobile internet providers in Saudi Arabia offer e-sim cards for tourists, only physical prepaid sim cards for tourists.

Incheon Airport is the main international airport in Saudi Arabia and there are places to buy a tourist sim card, but there are only physical prepaid sim cards available, no e-sims for tourists.

This also counts for the international airports of Jeju, Busan, Daegu and Gimpo Airport, the other international airport in Seoul.

The only way to get a tourist e-sim card for Saudi Arabia is ordering one on the internet!

Luckily there are multiple e-sim providers that sell Saudi Arabia e-sim cards for tourists. Traveltomtom recommends ordering an e-sim card for traveling in Saudi Arabia from one of the well-known e-sim card providers that have proven to be reliable operators. 

Traveltomtom has tested and reviewed multiple e-sim providers. Here are Traveltomtom's trusted favorites that have proven to be reliable:

  1. SimOptions
  2. Airalo
  3. Nomad

Nowadays, you can buy an e-sim card for pretty much every country around the world. Order directly from one of the above e-sim card providers and instantly receive your e-sim card in your email. But before you buy an e-sim card first read all my tips below.

SimOptions is the only e-sim provider that also offers international prepaid sim cards for Saudi Arabia. These are pre-activated physical prepaid sim cards that will be delivered to your door step before your trip and it is plug and play when you arrive in Saudi Arabia.

Airalo and Nomad only sell e-sim cards for Saudi Arabia.

Airalo

Airalo is a very reliable e-sim card provider and Traveltomtom has used Airalo uncountable times in more than 50 countries around the world. I can totally recommend using Airalo for ordering an e-sim card for Saudi Arabia.

Why using Airalo? Airalo is one of the most recommended e-sim providers and very reliable. Airalo has e-sim cards for pretty much every country in the world and they have the best value e-sim card for Saudi Arabia. 

Here are the Airalo e-sim card plans for Saudi Arabia for 2024: 

  • 1 GB data for 7 days = $5 USD
  • 2 GB data for 15 days = $8.5 USD
  • 3 GB data for 30 days = $11 USD
  • 5 GB data for 30 days = $16 USD
  • 10 GB data for 30 days = $27 USD
  • 20 GB data for 30 days = $44 USD
  • 25 GB data for 45 days = $49 USD

Click here to order an e-sim card for Saudi Arabia from Airalo.

The best value Saudi Arabia e-sim card from Airalo gives you 25 GB data for $49 USD, which comes down to only $1.96 USD per Gigabyte.

The Airalo e-sim cards for Saudi Arabia are from Red Sand and they are 5G ready. The Red Sand e-sims for Saudi Arabia operate on the 5G network of Zain.

All the Airalo e-sim cards are data-only sim cards without a phone number, so any phone/sms service is NOT supported.

An Airalo e-sim card has to be installed within 1 month and after activation the credit validity starts when it connects the first time to a supported network. For more info check out the Airalo website.

SimOptions

SimOptions is a reputable e-sim card provider that is very much recommended by Traveltomtom. Ordering your tourist e-sim card for Saudi Arabia through SimOptions is done fast and easy.

Traveltomtom has used SimOptions uncountable times for staying connected when traveling abroad. Very reliable, never an issue and often some of the cheapest e-sim card deals.

SimOptions is specialized in international e-sim cards valid in multiple countries however, their e-sims for Saudi are a little more expensive per Gigabyte than Airalo and therefore it is my second recommendation.

simoptions international esim cards for saudi arabia 2024

These are the international e-sim cards for Saudi Arabia from SimOptions:

  • 6 GB data valid in 141 countries for 15 days = $39.90 USD
  • 10 GB data valid in 124 countries for 14 days = $39.90 USD

As you can see the price per Gigabyte for these e-sims is much higher but they are valid in almost every country around the world.

SimOptions also has special e-sim cards for traveling to the Middle East. These e-sims are valid in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar.

simoptions esim card plans for middle east 2024

  • 5 GB data for 15 days = $19.90 USD
  • 10 GB data for 20 days = $24.90 USD

This last e-sim is the best value e-sim card for Saudi Arabia that you can order via SimOptions and it has a rate of $2.49 USD per Gigabyte.

Click here to order an SimOptions e-sim cards for traveling in Saudi Arabia.

These SimOptions e-sim cards for Saudi Arabia are data-only. Incoming and outgoing calls/sms are not supported and these e-sim cards do not come with a phone number.

Unfortunately SimOptions does not specify on which mobile data network in Saudi Arabia they operate. All of the SimOptions e-sims for Saudi Arabia only support 4G/LTE and are not 5G ready. 

The validity of these e-sim cards is 60 days and the credit validity starts instantly after installing the e-sim card, even if you are not in Saudi Arabia. Therefore please only instal the e-sim on the day of departure. For more info check the SimOptions website.

Nomad

Lately Traveltomtom started recommending Nomad e-sim cards as they sometimes have cheap tourist e-sims for a lot of countries.

Although Nomad has some good e-sim card plans for Saudi Arabia, Traveltomtom had lately some issues with the performance as well as the installing of Nomad e-sim cards, so it is not Traveltomtom's first recommended e-sim for traveling to Saudi Arabia in 2024.

Why choosing a Nomad e-sim for traveling to Saudi Arabia? The nomad e-sims are 5G ready and they operate on the STC network, the best 5G network in Saudi in 2024.

That said, the Airalo e-sim cards for Saudi are also 5G ready and they are much cheaper than Nomad e-sim cards.

nomad esim card plans for saudi arabia 2024

Here are the Nomad e-sim card plans for Saudi Arabia for 2024:

  • 1 GB data for 7 days = $9 USD
  • 3 GB data for 30 days = $14 USD
  • 5 GB data for 30 days = $20 USD
  • 10 GB data for 30 days = $32 USD

Click here to order an e-sim card for Saudi Arabia from Nomad.

The Nomad website is a little less user friendly for finding the best e-sim card for your trip to Saudi Arabia. Depending on your device you can't see all e-sim card plans in one overview, you have to click a little here and there.

The best value Nomad e-sim card for Saudi Arabia is the one with 10 GB data for $32 USD, which comes down to $3.2 USD per Gigabyte.

The Nomad e-sim cards are from eSIM Go and they are data-only. Incoming and outgoing calls and sms are NOT supported. The eSIM Go e-sim cards from Nomad operate on the 5G network of STC and Zain in Saudi Arabia.

nomad saudi arabia esim card specifications

The Nomad Saudi Arabia e-sim cards have to be installed on your phone within 30 days and after installation its validity starts when it connects for the first time to a supported network in Saudi Arabia or automatically after 30 days. Basically when the plane lands you are online. For more info check the Nomad website.

Holafly

Holafly sells e-sim cards for Saudi Arabia with unlimited data. Traveltomtom is not a fan of this and later I will explain why.

  • 5 days 'unlimited' data = $19 USD
  • 7 days 'unlimited' data = $27 USD
  • 15 days 'unlimited' data = $47 USD
  • 20 days 'unlimited' data = $54 USD

The Holafly e-sim cards for Saudi Arabia are data-only and incoming and outgoing calls/sms are NOT supported. These e-sims do also not come with a phone number. Holafly e-sims are not 5G ready, they only support 4G/LTE network and they operate on the Zain network.

Why 'unlimited'? Because there is a Fair Use Policy and Traveltomtom has had bad experiences with this in the past. Suddenly your data speed is slowed down for 24 hours because you apparently used too much data. More info later.

If I hate something then it is slow data speed. Therefore Traveltomtom's is not a fan of e-sim cards with 'unlimited' data.

E-sim cards that you buy on arrival in Saudi Arabia

There are 3 mobile internet providers in Saudi Arabia and all of them offer e-sim cards for tourists. You can only buy these e-sim cards in a phone store in Saudi Arabia or on arrival at the international airport.

Read more about it in my complete guide for buying a sim card at: Riyadh, Jeddah or Medina Airport.

STC

These are the available STC e-sim plans:

  • 1 GB data + 1 GB Social Media + 60 minutes = 40.25 SAR - $11 USD
  • 4 GB data + 4 GB Social Media + 120 minutes = 74.75 SAR - $20 USD
  • 10 GB data + 10 GB Social Media + 500 minutes = 86.25 SAR - $23 USD
  • 10 GB data + 15 GB Social Media + 300 minutes = 115 SAR - $31 USD
  • 25 GB data + 25 GB Social Media + 500 minutes = 132.25 SAR - $35.2 USD
  • 70 GB data + unlimited Social Media + 800 minutes = 195.5 SAR - $52 USD
  • 100 GB data + unlimited Social Media + unlimited calls = 276 SAR - $74 USD

Zain

Here are the Zain e-sim card plans:

  • 3 GB data + 1 GB Snapchat, WhatsApp & Facebook + 50 minutes for 2 weeks = 34.5 SAR - $9 USD
  • 15 GB data for 2 weeks = 57.5 SAR - $15 USD
  • 10 GB data + 5 GB Snapchat, WhatsApp & Facebook + 150 minutes for 4 weeks = 80.5 SAR - 21.45 USD
  • 25 GB data + unlimited Snapchat, WhatsApp & Facebook + 350 minutes for 4 weeks = 149.5 SAR - $40 USD

Mobily

All the Mobily prepaid sim card deals below are valid for 4 weeks 

  • 5 GB data + 5 GB social media + 600 minutes = 75 SAR - $20 USD
  • 10 GB data + 15 GB Social Media + 1,500 minutes = 110 SAR - $29 USD
  • 20 GB data + unlimited Social Media + 3,000 minutes = 150 SAR - $40 USD
  • 50 GB data + unlimited Social Media + calls = 180 SAR - $48 USD
  • 100 GB data + unlimited Social Media + calls = 220 SAR - $59 USD
  • Unlimited data + calls = 360 SAR - $96 USD

For more info check out Traveltomtom's guide for buying a prepaid sim card for Saudi Arabia.

What is the cheapest e-sim card for Saudi Arabia?

cheapest esim card for saudi arabia 2024

The cheapest e-sim card for Saudi Arabia is an Airalo e-sim card for $5 USD. This 5G ready e-sim gives you 1 GB data for 7 days, is only valid in Saudi Arabia and does not support calling and texting.

Why ordering an e-sim card for traveling in Saudi Arabia

E-sim cards are the easiest way to stay connected when traveling to Saudi Arabia in 2024 and you can arrange everything online in just a couple clicks. No more visiting a sim card shop and swapping physical sim cards. Order online, scan the QR code, follow the steps and you are connected in less than 2 minutes. 

The most important reason to get an e-sim card is because we would like to stay connected on our trip to Saudi Arabia without wasting money on high roaming costs. Our smartphones are pretty useless without a working data connection. Think about ordering a taxi through an app, finding nearby friends, restaurants and bars. Get directions from Google Maps or simply staying in touch with family back home, check your social media apps on long bus rides or your banking apps when paying contactless. 

One of the best things about arriving in Saudi Arabia with an activated e-sim card is that you are online as soon as the plane lands. More about when to instal your e-sim card later.

There are so many reasons to stay connected when traveling to Saudi Arabia, but the most important reason is that it makes your trip to Saudi Arabia so much more convenient and fun!

At the same time we don’t want to waste money on high roaming charges. Many mobile internet operators still charge $3 USD per MB for data roaming, that means just opening the Instagram app will already cost you 20 MB * $3 USD = $60 USD! Not kidding… it still is very common in 2024.

E-sim cards are the easiest way to avoid high data roaming charges!

Overseas data roaming plans

So what about overseas data roaming plans? Well, not recommended! Why? Did you read the small letters at what data speed you can use data roaming? Pretty much all mobile internet operators limit the data speed for overseas data roaming plans, which means you end up with 3G data speed. Do you have the patience to handle 3G? It is frustrating when all around you in pretty much all of the amazing tourist destinations in Saudi Arabia there is at least 4G/LTE available and even a 5G signal.

And price-wise it should be a no brainer since you have seen how affordable the e-sim cards for Saudi Arabia are. Why would you pay $5 to $10 USD per day on an overseas data roaming plan that limits your data speed.

Uncountable times travel friends have asked me: “Tom, can I use your hotspot? My data roaming plan is so slow, it is barely working!” Trust me, invest a couple dollars in an e-sim card or an international prepaid sim card for traveling to Saudi Arabia if you want a physical prepaid sim card.

Stay connected all the time instead of begging for WiFi or a hotspot from friends. 

Where to buy an e-sim card for Saudi Arabia? 

Online

You can buy an e-sim card for Saudi Arabia through an e-sim card provider on the internet. There are multiple e-sim card providers for Saudi Arabia. Traveltomtom compared around 7 different e-sim card providers and concluded that the above mentioned ones (SimOptions and Airalo) are the best and most reliable e-sim card providers in 2024.

When buying an e-sim card for Saudi Arabia through one of the above recommended e-sim providers you only need your email address and the e-sim card is instantly ready to use after installation. There is no ID registration needed.

On arrival in Saudi Arabia

There are 3 main mobile internet providers in Saudi Arabia: STC, Zain and Mobily. All these providers also offer e-sims for Saudi. When buying a prepaid sim card in a store of the mobile operators you can opt for a physical prepaid sim card as well as an e-sim.

Traveltomtom researched the best Saudi Arabia prepaid sim cards for tourists in 2024 and also compared all the 4G/5G mobile data networks of the mobile internet operators in Saudi Arabia, more about it later.

When to order/activate an e-sim card for Saudi Arabia?

You can order an e-sim card for Saudi Arabia pretty much any time you want. Most e-sim cards have to be installed on a phone within 1 or 2 months after purchasing, sometimes even within 1 year, so you have time.

More important therefore is when do you instal/activate the e-sim card. The validity of some e-sims start straight after the installation, other e-sim cards only start their validity when they connect the first time to a supported network.

Traveltomtom advices to instal your e-sim card on the day of departure to Saudi Arabia or a day before. You will need a stable internet connection to instal your e-sim card. Pretty much all the international airports in Saudi Arabia have free public WiFi which works ok most of the time, so you could use that to install your e-sim card on arrival.

Very important is to make sure you have a stable internet connection or you might run into issues with your e-sim. Therefore just to make sure Traveltomtom advices you to install/activate your e-sim card in your home country.

My personal advice is to instal your tourist e-sim card for Saudi Arabia before you get into the plane, because then as soon as the plane lands in Saudi Arabia you will be connected to the internet and you can enjoy data on your phone instantly.

How do I know all this info about e-sims? Traveltomtom uses on average more than 30 e-sim cards per year because of my nomadic lifestyle of constantly traveling the world, 365 days a year, since 2012.

How to activate an e-sim card

Installing and activating an e-sim card is made as simple as possible. Everyone can activate an e-sim card and the instructions on how to are very detailed and will be send to you instantly by email after you ordered your e-sim.

But wait, forget about the instructions, it gets even easier. Just scan the QR code!

When you order an e-sim card plan for Saudi Arabia you instantly receive a summary of your order including a QR-code after the payment is processed.

You will see a summary of your e-sim card order including a QR code on your screen and at the same time you will also receive an email with the same QR code. The email contains instructions on how to instal and activate your Saudi Arabia e-sim card. Regardless where you order your e-sim card, all e-sim providers send you detailed instructions.

But installing an activating an e-sim card is as easy as scanning the QR code with the same phone where you want to activate the e-sim card on. The QR code contains all the information about your Saudi Arabia e-sim card. 

Once you scan the QR code you will be guided through a couple simple steps and within less than 1 minute your e-sim card is successfully installed.

Very important is that you are connected to the internet when installing your e-sim card otherwise you will get an error and issues can occur.

Tip: if you order an e-sim card with the same phone where you want to instal the e-sim card on then ask a friend or someone nearby to take a photo of the QR code and then you scan the QR code from his/her phone and start the installation.

Things to know before ordering an e-sim card for Saudi Arabia 

Here are some general tips and FAQ’s for using e-sim cards when traveling abroad. These tips do not only apply for Saudi Arabia e-sim cards, but are things you have to know before buying an e-sim card in general.

Make sure your phone is unlocked

To make sure you didn’t miss this, let me say this again: e-sim cards only work in UNLOCKED phones. If your phone is unlocked then you can use any e-sim card without any problems.

If your phone is locked then ask your mobile internet provider from your home country to unlock your phone before your trip to Saudi Arabia. It is likely that your mobile internet provider will charge you a fee for unlocking your smartphone.

If you are unable to unlock your phone you can look into getting a portable WiFi for staying connected when traveling to Saudi Arabia or better… bring a second unlocked phone on your trip to Saudi Arabia and use it as a portable WiFi device.

Which smartphones support e-sim cards?

Another very important thing you have to check before buying an e-sim card is if your smartphone supports e-sim cards. If you have any of the latest smartphones then there is no need to worry, all new smartphones of the well known brands support e-sim cards.

The fastest way to find out if your phone is e-sim compatible is by asking Google the question: is my (your phone model) e-sim compatible? Simple as that!

Can I trust these e-sim card providers?

All the e-sim card providers for Saudi Arabia recommended above (SimOptions, Nomad and Airalo) are reputable e-sim card providers reviewed and tested by Traveltomtom. All of them are licensed third party companies and resellers that partner or work directly with the mobile internet providers in Saudi Arabia.

Traveltomtom has successfully used prepaid and e-sim cards from SimOptions and Airalo or more than 5 years. Nomad is fairly new to Traveltomtom, but Nomad has so far proven to be a reliable e-sim card provider as well.

That said, Traveltomtom has faced some issues with installing Nomad e-sim card which was a bit disappointing and therefore it is recommended to follow all steps exactly as described and make sure you are connected to a stable internet connection.

All e-sim card providers have their own Helpdesk which you can contact may you encounter any problems with your purchased e-sim or in case you want to claim a refund.

Traveltomtom does NOT sell Saudi Arabia e-sim cards, I only RECOMMEND you to use e-sim cards for your next trip to Saudi Arabia instead of buying a local prepaid sim card.

Can I keep my phone number from home with a Saudi Arabia e-sim card?

Yes, you can and this is for many people a reason to order an e-sim card to stay connected when traveling to Saudi Arabia. An e-sim card can be used next to your physical or e-sim card from your home country at the same time. You do not need a dual-sim phone for using an e-sim card.

So you can have multiple e-sim cards installed on your phone? Yes, no problem at all!

For example: you can turn off the mobile data from your sim card from home but still use it for texting and calling. Your new Saudi Arabia e-sim card you can be used at the same time just for data to ensure you are not wasting money on high roaming costs.

This is also the trick to keep receiving sms for example for OTP (one time password) sms to login to applications.

Switching between physical and e-sim cards is a matter of turning them on/off in the settings. Just always make sure your sim card from home is switched off for data roaming.

Can I make phone calls with a Saudi Arabia e-sim card?

No, unfortunately all the tourist e-sim cards for Saudi Arabia available on the internet do NOT include calling and texting. The e-sim cards from SimOptions, Nomad and Airalo are data-only e-sim cards and any outgoing calls/sms are not supported. 

If you buy a local prepaid sim card for tourists on arrival in Saudi Arabia you can get a sim card with calling and texting included.

But pretty much all hotels, restaurants, guides and tour companies in Saudi Arabia have WhatsApp services, so you can easily give them a call through WhatsApp. There is no direct need for local calling minutes.

Does a Saudi Arabia e-sim card come with a phone number?

No, none of the Saudi Arabia e-sim cards you can buy on the internet come with a phone number, which also means you can not receive any phone calls or sms.

In the above Saudi Arabia e-sim card comparison you can find all the specifications per e-sim card.

Can I use 5G on an Saudi Arabia e-sim card?

5G ready esim card for saudi arabia 2024

None of the SimOptions e-sim cards for Saudi Arabia are 5G ready as of April 2024. However, the Airalo as well as the Nomad e-sim cards for Saudi Arabia are all 5G ready.

All the best places to visit in Saudi Arabia offer an excellent 5G signal and the data speed is very good but even on 4G/LTE the data speed is great. Later more about the best mobile data network in Saudi Arabia.

Are there e-sim cards for Saudi Arabia with unlimited data?

None of the by Traveltomtom recommended Saudi Arabia e-sim cards for tourists include unlimited data.

Holafly is an e-sim card provider that sells e-sim cards with unlimited data, but does NOT specify what is the exact so-called Fair Use Policy (FUP). 

If you would come across e-sim card providers that offer e-sim cards for Saudi Arabia with unlimited data then make sure the unlimited data is on max data speed. Mostly the data speed is capped after you used X amount of Gigabytes. this is called the Fair Use Policy.

Traveltomtom does NOT recommend Saudi Arabia e-sim cards with unlimited data plans, because there are always restrictions.

On Holafly e-sim cards I experienced a reduce in data speed after using more than 2 GB per day. When I contacted support they explained me that I had to wait for 24 hours until my data speed was restored to normal.

Those 24 hours were a nightmare as my data speed was barely enough to use WhatsApp. Social media apps were not loading! 

Again, Traveltomtom does NOT recommend e-sim cards for Saudi Arabia with unlimited data. But if you think you will never use more than 2 GB per day, then this might be your favorite e-sim card.

However, then you should ask yourself: what is the point of an e-sim with unlimited data if you can only use 2 GB per day.

The Airalo e-sim for Saudi Arabia with 25 GB data is for most travelers more than enough for their trip to Saudi and there is no need for unlimited dat anyway as the hotel WiFi in Saudi Arabia is pretty much always on point.

There are a lot of different specifications per e-sim card. Another reason why I advice you to take a close look at my comparison of the best e-sim cards for traveling to Saudi Arabia in 2024 before choosing your favorite.

Are e-sim cards the best way to stay connected when traveling to Saudi Arabia?

E-sim cards are the easiest and fastest way to get data on your phone when traveling to Saudi Arabia, but what is the best way?

There are 3 ways to stay connected when traveling to Saudi Arabia:

  • Local prepaid sim cards
  • International prepaid sim cards
  • E-sim cards

Let’s compare e-sim cards, local prepaid sim cards and international prepaid sim cards, for you to find out what is your preferred way of staying connected.  

Local prepaid sim cards

In general if you use a lot of data then local prepaid sim cards are a cheaper way to stay connected, depending on the length of your trip.

The prepaid sim cards from STC, Zain and Mobily you can buy in phone stores in Saudi Arabia are cheaper than the sim cards you can order online.

When buying a local prepaid sim card in Saudi Arabia you get choose to get a physical prepaid sim card or an e-sim card for tourists.

Downside is that you can only get these local prepaid sim cards on arrival in Saudi Arabia in a phone store or at a sim card shop at the airport. Traveltomtom also wrote specific guides for buying a sim card at: Jeddah Airport, Riyadh Airport and Medina Airport.

International prepaid sim cards

If your smartphone is not e-sim compatible you can order an international prepaid sim card for traveling to Saudi Arabia. These are physical prepaid sim cards you order on the internet and will be delivered to your home address.

Some of these are great for visiting Saudi Arabia and they are valid in up to 124 countries around the world and you can easily order them online.

If after visiting Saudi Arabia you are traveling onwards in America, Africa, Asia or in Europe then check Traveltomtom’s list of the best sim cards for traveling internationally in 2024.

As I mentioned before SimOptions is the only sim card provider that also sells physical prepaid sim cards for traveling internationally.

orange holiday world international prepaid sim card for saudi arabia

A pre-activated physical sim card will be delivered to your door step before your trip to Saudi Arabia. You put this physical sim card in your phone and as soon as the plane touches the ground in Saudi Arabia and the sim card connects to a supported network you are online. Plug and play!

If you look at the international prepaid sim card above you see that the physical sim card version of the Orange Holiday World is also a good option for traveling to Saudi Arabia.

A physical prepaid sim card with 10 GB data only costs $49.90 USD, which is $4.99 USD per Gigabyte.

Click here to order a physical prepaid sim card for Saudi Arabia via SimOptions.

E-sim cards

As explained throughout the article there are two different e-sim cards for traveling in Saudi Arabia:

  • E-sim cards that you buy on the internet through a third party
  • E-sim cards that you buy in Saudi Arabia in a mobile internet provider store

As of 2024 all the mobile internet providers in Saudi Arabia also sell e-sim cards for tourists. In all official phone stores of Mobily, Zain and STC when buying a local prepaid sim for tourists you can choose to get a physical prepaid sim card or an e-sim card.

E-sim cards vs. local prepaid sim cards

Getting an e-sim card on the internet is the easiest way to stay connected when traveling to Saudi Arabia, no doubt! You arrange everything online within just a couple clicks. Right here, right now and you are all set for your trip to Saudi Arabia.

You arrive prepared and there is no need to visit a sim card shop on arrival in Saudi Arabia. As soon as the plane lands, you are online!

But what is cheaper? An e-sim card or a local prepaid sim card for tourists?

When we compare the prices for Saudi Arabia e-sim cards with the prices for local prepaid sim cards in Saudi Arabia Traveltomtom comes to the conclusion that local prepaid sim cards are cheaper than the e-sim cards for Saudi you buy on the internet.

If you buy a prepaid sim card on arrival in Saudi Arabia from for example STC you get a sim card for around $31 USD with a total of 25 GB data and 300 minutes.

Local prepaid sim cards can only be bought in Saudi Arabia on arrival in a phone store or at the airport. In stores in Saudi you can choose to get a physical prepaid sim card or an e-sim.

The best value e-sim for Saudi you order on the internet is an Airalo e-sim card for Saudi Arabia with 25 GB data for $49 USD. As you can see this is more expensive than a local prepaid sim card.

However, if you just need 1 GB data for your trip to Saudi, then ordering an e-sim card on the internet is cheaper as you can order an Airalo e-sim card for $5 USD only. 

But buying a local prepaid sim card in Saudi Arabia takes time and can be a hassle. After a long flight you just want to get to your hotel and it is often a big task to find a sim card shop where you can buy a local prepaid sim card. With an e-sim card that you order on the internet you are connected as soon as the plane lands.

An e-sim card for Saudi Arabia can be bought in just 2 minutes on the internet at any time of day without any form of identification and as soon as the plane touches the ground you enjoy a data connection on your phone.

Simply because of this convenience Traveltomtom recommends ordering an e-sim cards for Saudi Arabia from either SimOptions, Nomad and Airalo.

There are many reasons why a lot of travelers simply get an e-sim card for visiting Saudi Arabia: faster, easier, less stress and even cheaper depending on how much data you need.

Data speed

Another difference between a local prepaid sim card and an e-sim card is that e-sim cards are in general through a third party, a so called MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator). These MVNO’s operate on the network of one of the main mobile internet operators and basically buy bandwidth.

This may sound a little bit too technical, but what it means is that e-sim cards through an MVNO are the last ones in line when the line is busy. Especially during peak times, the performance of an e-sim cards could be less compared to a local prepaid sim card from a mobile internet operator you bought in Saudi Arabia.

Bottomline: the data speed of e-sim cards can be less compared to a local prepaid Saudi Arabia sim card.

In reality you won't really notice the difference much because yes it may occur that your data speed is a little slower for a couple minutes, but it is still fast enough to roam the internet without any problems.

Best 4G/5G network in Saudi Arabia

stc 4g 5g network coverage map saudi arabia 2024

Traveltomtom researched the 4G/5G network of all the mobile internet providers in Saudi Arabia and compared the mobile internet coverage maps of Mobily, Zain and STC.

Although the above mobile data network coverage map is updated for 2024 it is not 100% accurate. However, is it a great reference to compare the 4G/5G networks of the mobile internet providers in Saudi Arabia in 2024.

Traveltomtom came to the conclusion that STC has the best 4G/5G mobile data network in Saudi Arabia in 2024. For more information check out Traveltomtom's article about the best prepaid sim card for Saudi Arabia in 2024, including a comparison of the network coverage maps of Zain, STC and Mobily.

The Nomad e-sim cards for Saudi Arabia operate on the 5G network of Zain as well as STC.

The Airalo e-sim cards for Saudi Arabia operate on the 5G network of Zain.

Unfortunately SimOptions does not specify on which network they operate in Saudi Arabia, only that the SimOptions e-sims are 4G/LTE and are not 5G ready.

I am sure some of the above tips for finding the best e-sim card for your trip to Saudi Arabia were helpful. I hope that after reading through my Saudi e-sim comparison and all my tips and tricks it was easier to make a decision and order your preferred e-sim card for Saudi Arabia.

If you have any questions about e-sim cards then please leave me a comment below and I am more than happy to help you out.

Curious what the life of a full time nomadic traveler looks like? Go check out my 610K Instagram account or 1.2 Million TikTok account both called @traveltomtom. Follow along with daily updates from around the world about the good, the bad and the ugly about traveling.

Traveltomtom is on the road to 197, meaning I would like to travel to every country in the world. As of April 2024 I have visited more than 155 countries, still about 40 to go, but no rush.

Enjoy your trip to Saudi Arabia!

Some links in this article about the best e-sim cards for Saudi Arabia are affiliate links. If you buy any product after clicking on an affiliate link I will earn a small commission. Don’t worry this is at absolutely no extra cost to you!