Are you planning your trip to Medina as a tourist or for Hajj or Umrah and wondering if you can buy a prepaid sim card at Medina Airport on arrival.
In this guide you can find everything you need to know before buying a sim card for tourists at Medina Airport: where to buy a sim card, up to date prices as per February 2024, a comparison of the prepaid sim cards, the best e-sim cards for Saudi Arabia, my recommendation, information about international sim cards and even a vlog with my experiences on arrival at Medina Airport.
In the last years I traveled a couple times to Saudi Arabia and really fell in love with this incredible country and especially Medina, a magical place that is one of the best places to visit in Saudi and of course a holy place for Muslims.
Being a nomadic travel blogger since 2012 I always look for the best ways to get connected when planning my next trip.
As I like to document all my travel tips and I am also on a journey to travel to every country in the world you can already find more than 200 sim card guides on Traveltomtom from all around the world: Pakistan, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Istanbul, Turkey, USA, Asia, Europe, United Kingdom, Germany, Marrakech, Philippines, China, Indonesia and many more.
On Traveltomtom you can also find specific sim card guides for Jeddah Airport and Riyadh Airport as well as a comprehensive guide for buying a prepaid sim card for Saudi Arabia in 2024.
So next time you are planning your adventure abroad come check out Traveltomtom for the latest prepaid and e-sim card advice for your next holiday destination. Bookmark me and let me help you save money!
Traveltomtom recommends an STC sim card for traveling to Medina. Not only does STC have great prepaid sim card plans for tourists, they also have the best mobile internet network coverage in Saudi Arabia. For $23 USD you get 20 GB data.
However, if you only use a little bit of data to stay in touch with family on WhatsApp, get directions from Google Maps or check your email then an e-sim card for Saudi Arabia with 1 GB data for just $5 USD will do the job as well.
This e-sim card from Airalo is the cheapest way to stay connected when traveling to Medina.
Another suggestion is to get a global travel sim card with data for world travelers. These international prepaid sim cards with coverage in multiple countries work the same as a prepaid sim card but their data is valid across borders. Check out my comparison of the best international sim cards for traveling in 2024 and find the one that suits your trip the best.
If you are traveling to more countries in Asia then check out my list of the best sim cards for traveling in Asia in 2024.
Best e-sim cards for Saudi Arabia
The easiest way to get data on your phone when traveling to Medina in 2024 is an e-sim card. You order online and arrange everything in just a couple clicks. No more visiting a sim card shop and swapping physical sim cards.
You order an e-sim card for Saudi Arabia on the internet, you receive a QR code, scan it, follow the simple steps and within less than 2 minutes you have a Tonga e-sim card installed on your phone.
Upon arrival in Medina it automatically connects you to an available network and you enjoy data on your phone pretty much when the plane lands.
Make sure your phone is e-sim compatible before ordering an e-sim card for Saudi Arabia.
Airalo is a reliable e-sim provider and Traveltomtom has used Airalo in more than 50 countries around the world and never faced an issue. 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
Click here for more info or to order an e-sim card for Saudi Arabia via Airalo.
The above e-sim cards from Red Sand are data-only and valid in Saudi only. They operate on the 4G/LTE/5G network of Zain. Yes, these e-sim cards for Saudi Arabia support 5G.
SimOptions is another reliable e-sim provider and Traveltomtom has used SimOptions also in multiple countries around the world.
The SimOptions e-sim cards are more expensive than Airalo, but these are international e-sim cards, valid in up to 141 countries around the world. Here are the SimOptions international e-sim cards for Saudi Arabia in 2024:
- 6 GB data for 15 days = $39.90 USD
- 10 GB data for 14 days = $39.90 USD
Click here for more info or to order an international e-sim card for Saudi Arabia via SimOptions.
A relatively new e-sim provider is Nomad and they sometimes have great e-sim card deals. Here are the plans for Saudi Arabia in 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 for more info or to order a Nomad e-sim card for Saudi Arabia.
The Nomad e-sims for Saudi Arabia operate on the Zain and Mobily 4G/LTE and 5G network.
With an e-sim card you keep your own phone number. It is a very simple and easy way to stay connected for your trip to Medina, but make sure your phone is capable of handling e-sim cards before ordering.
Why buying a Saudi Arabia sim card
First of all it is easy to arrange and it will save you a lot of money on high roaming costs. A working data connection on your phone makes life simply easier. There are many taxi apps (Uber, Careem) that you can use in Saudi Arabia to go for example to Mosque Quba, which is 15 minutes outside of Medina.
Also finding nearby restaurants with good ratings, getting directions from Google Maps or simply staying in touch with friends and family and showing them the beauty of Medina.
Don’t rely on public WiFi as there is no guarantee it is working or even fast enough. Also a reminder that browsing the internet on public WiFi is through an UNSECURED network. The use of a VPN is recommended to protect your data.
Where to buy a sim card at Medina Airport
There are 2 different shops at Medina Airport that sell prepaid sim cards for tourists: STC and Zain. The small STC shop can’t be missed as you walk straight into it when walking out of arrivals. You will see its big purple letters.
The Zain shop is located near the entry/exit of the airport terminal, just 50 meters away.
Medina Airport is pretty small and easy to navigate. You will find ATM’s, car rental companies, currency exchange and the information desk all next to each other.
To make things even easier you can watch my vlog below about my arrival and buying a sim card at Medina Airport and I show you exactly where to go.
Reminder that both prepaid sim card shops are open 24 hours and you can pay by international credit cards, so there is no need to exchange money first.
Prices prepaid sim cards at Medina Airport
Luckily prices for tourist sim cards are everywhere the same in Saudi Arabia. It doesn't matter of you buy your sim card at Medina Airport on arrival or in the city center of Medina in an official retail store.
Prices and info below are updated as per February 2024. Prices are in Saudi Riyal: $1 USD = 3.75 SAR and 1 SAR = $0.27 USD.
Zain Saudi Arabia
You will get a free sim card and registration when buying one of the Zain prepaid sim card packages:
- 3 GB data + 1 GB Snapchat, WhatsApp & Facebook + 50 minutes valid for 2 weeks = 34.5 SAR
- 15 GB data valid for 2 weeks = 57.5 SAR
- 10 GB data + 5 GB Snapchat, WhatsApp & Facebook + 150 minutes valid for 4 weeks = 80.5 SAR - 21.45 USD
- 25 GB data + unlimited Snapchat, WhatsApp & Facebook + 350 minutes valid for 4 weeks = 149.5 SAR
At the Zain store at Medina Airport they offer physical prepaid sim cards as well as e-sim cards for tourists.
STC Saudi Arabia
At STC they offer a wide range of prepaid sim card packages for tourists at Medina Airport, valid for 4 weeks:
- 1 GB data + 1 GB Social Media + 60 minutes = 40.25 SAR
- 4 GB data + 4 GB Social Media + 120 minutes = 74.75 SAR - $19.9 USD
- 10 GB data + 10 GB Social Media + 500 minutes = 86.25 SAR
- 10 GB data + 15 GB Social Media + 300 minutes = 115 SAR
- 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
- 100 GB data + unlimited Social Media + unlimited calls = 276 SAR
At the STC store at Medina Airport they offer physical prepaid sim cards as well as e-sim cards for tourists.
Best sim card at Medina Airport in 2024
After comparing the Zain and STC prepaid sim cards for tourists at Medina Airport Traveltomtom comes to the conclusion that STC has better prepaid sim card plans for tourists compared to Zain.
When you are looking for the cheapest prepaid sim card deal at Medina Airport then head to Zain. They have a prepaid sim card for tourists starting from 34.5 SAR ($9.2 USD) and you get 3 GB data + extras.
Keep in mind that if your phone is e-sim compatible you can already get an e-sim card with 1 GB data for just $5 USD from Airalo.
Traveltomtom is an advocate for using e-sim cards. It makes it all so much easier and no need to go to a sim card shop at Medina Airport anymore. As soon as the plane touches the ground you are already online and automatically have a working data connection on your phone.
As STC has great prepaid sim card deals for tourists and also the strongest 4G/5G mobile network in Saudi Arabia STC is the best sim card at Medina Airport in 2024.
For more info about the best 4G/5G coverage in Saudi Arabia check my article about the best prepaid sim card for Saudi Arabia in 2024.
Order a prepaid sim card for Saudi Arabia online
If your phone is not e-sim compatible and buying a prepaid sim card on arrival at Medina Airport sounds like too much hassle then I have a solution for you.
Arrive prepared in Saudi Arabia with an international prepaid sim card. You order them online and a physical prepaid sim card will be delivered to your home address. You put this sim card in your phone and it automatically connects to an available network upon arrival in Medina, basically when the plane lands you are instantly online.
SimOptions is the only sim card provider that sells physical prepaid sim cards for Saudi Arabia:
- 10 GB data for 14 days = $49.90 USD
Click here for more info or to order an international prepaid sim card for Saudi Arabia via SimOptions.
A last reminder that if your phone is e-sim compatible then you can arrange everything directly on the internet by ordering an e-sim card for Saudi Arabia. You can already find Saudi Arabia e-sim cards starting from $5 USD.
I hope all the above tips for buying a sim card at Medina Airport were helpful for your upcoming trip. Please, when you still have questions leave me a comment below and I will try to help you out.
Visiting Jeddah after Medina? Then I recommend you to take a look at my YouTube channel for my vlogs about traveling in Saudi Arabia. Specially recommended for you a trip by high speed train from Medina to Jeddah.
For some more Saudi Arabia travel inspiration check out my Instagram account @traveltomtom and follow my road to visit every country in the world. As of February 2024 I have visited more than 155 countries.
Enjoy your trip to Medina, Saudi Arabia!
Some links in this article about buying a sim card at Medina Airport are affiliate links. If you buy any of the products after using an affiliate link I will earn a small commission. This is at absolutely no extra cost to you.