Are you excited to travel to Saudi Arabia? Whether you are just a tourist or going on a pilgrimage make sure you stay connected. The best way? Buying a local prepaid sim card in Saudi Arabia on arrival. This is the most extensive guide about the best prepaid sim card for Saudi Arabia with a comparison of the prices, the best 4G/5G network, where to get one, e-sim cards for Saudi Arabia and even a vlog with all the info.
Saudi Arabia opened up its borders to tourists only in 2018 and ever since I was dying to go. It became country no. 119 on my journey to visit every country in the world. Everywhere I go I write about local prepaid sim cards and that is why you can find guides from all over the world on my blog: Bahrain, Dubai, Malaysia, Jordan, Pakistan, Hong Kong, Egypt, Europe, USA and many more.
Why buying a sim card for Saudi Arabia
Most important reason is to save on high roaming costs. Overseas data plans are expensive and limit your internet speed. Buying a sim card in Saudi Arabia is easy, takes just a couple minutes and gives you a lot of data for a much cheaper price.
Traveling with an active data connection on your phone is just so much more convenient. Think about ordering a taxi through an app like Uber or Careem, getting directions from Google Maps, sending WhatsApp locations, staying in touch with the people back home, dealing with emergencies, etc.
Also keep in mind that public WiFi is no guaranteed everywhere plus these are UNSECURED networks. When using public WiFi the use of a VPN is recommended.
Be aware that for making a Saudi Arabia sim card work, your phone needs to be unlocked! If your phone is locked you will need to unlock it before traveling to Saudi Arabia. Contact your provider if you are not sure.
If your phone is locked or swapping sim cards is not preferred than have a look into a so called pocket WiFi. It is not my favorite way of staying connected but it works. Check out my article comparing a local prepaid sim card vs. a portable WiFi device.
Traveltomtom recommends an STC sim card for Saudi Arabia. The have the most extensive 4G/5G network in Saudi Arabia and actually also the best prepaid sim card deals for tourists.
We do NOT recommend travel sim cards with international coverage. When you read my article with a comparison of the best international sim cards you will understand quickly that buying a local prepaid sim card is the best way to stay connected abroad. But have a look and decide for yourself.
Where to buy a sim card for Saudi Arabia
The best place to buy a prepaid sim card for Saudi Arabia is on arrival at the airport. All international airports in Saudi Arabia have excellent facilities for buying prepaid sim cards. I have been to Medina, Riyadh and Jeddah Airport and wrote a separate guide and recorded a vlog for every airport.
Click here for an extensive guide for:
- Buying a sim card at Jeddah Airport
- Buying a sim card at Riyadh Airport
- Buying a sim card at Medina Airport
The phone stores at the above airports are open 24 hours but if for some reason you may have missed the chance to get a Saudi Arabia sim card on arrival we recommend you to head to one of the bigger shopping malls and buy your Saudi Arabia sim card there.
Buying a Saudi Arabia sim card online
If buying a sim card for Saudi Arabia on arrival seem like too much hassle you can also order a sim card directly from your couch. On the Simoptions website you can find the following prepaid sim card deals for Saudi Arabia:
- True Move = 6 GB data for 15 days —> $39.90
- Orange = 10 GB data for 14 days —> $49.90
The above sim cards will be send to your home address before your trip to Saudi Arabia. The sim cards work through plug and play meaning they are automatically activated from its first use. Just put the sim card in your phone and you will be connected instantly. Click on the link above for more info or to order your Saudi Arabia sim card directly.
Mobile internet providers Saudi Arabia
There are 3 mobile internet operators in Saudi Arabia: Zain, Mobily and STC (Saudi Telecom Company). On top of that there is also Virgin Mobile, a so called MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator) that sells prepaid sim cards for tourists in Saudi Arabia.
The registration process is pretty standard. Your new Saudi Arabia sim card will be registered under your name and passport number. Always bring your passport when buying a new sim card in Saudi Arabia, they will take a copy of your passport in the store. Also you will have to give your fingerprint for registration.
Prices prepaid sim cards in Saudi Arabia
In a lot of countries the prices for sim cards at airports are more expensive than in a normal phone store around the country. Prices for prepaid sim cards in Saudi Arabia are more or less the same.
All the Mobily prepaid sim card deals below are valid for 4 weeks
- 75 SAR = 5 GB data + 5 GB social media + 500 minutes - $20
- 110 SAR = 10 GB data + 15 GB Social Media + 1,500 minutes - $29
- 150 SAR = 20 GB data + Unlimited Social Media + 2,250 minutes - $40
- 180 SAR = 40 GB data + Unlimited Social Media + calls - $48
- 220 SAR = 100 GB data + Unlimited Social Media + calls - $59
- 360 SAR = Unlimited data + calls - $96
With Mobily it is possible to get an e-sim card for Saudi Arabia at no extra costs. For the latest prepaid sim card deals for Mobily click on the link to go to their website.
- 63.25 SAR = 2 GB data + 30 minutes + 20 SAR credit for int. calls - $17
- 113.85 SAR = 4 GB data + 60 minutes + 50 SAR credit for int. calls - $30
- 228.85 SAR = 10 GB data + Unlimited Social Media + Unlimited calls + 50 SAR credit for int. calls - $61
- 458.85 SAR = Unlimited data + unlimited calls + 25 credt for int. calls - $122
Zain is more expensive than Mobily but they offer minutes for international calling, included in their prepaid packages. Zain also offers an e-sim card for its prepaid costumers. Check out the latest Zain prepaid sim card deals on their website.
STC keeps it simple so all their prices/packages/bundles for prepaid sim cards are nationwide the exact same. Every airport, mall, random phone store you are able to buy one of the following STC sim card deals for Saudi Arabia:
- 40.25 SAR = 1 GB data + 1 GB Social Media + 100 minutes - $11
- 86.25 SAR = 12 GB data + 8 GB Social Media + 500 minutes - $23
- 103.5 SAR = 10 GB data + 10 GB Social Media + 200 minutes* - $28
- 115.0 SAR = 10 GB data + 25 GB Social Media + 250 minutes* - $31
- 132.25 SAR = 20 GB data + 30 GB Social Media + 1,000 minutes - $35
- 195.5 SAR = 65 GB data + unlimited Social Media + 1,200 minutes - $52
- 276.0 SAR = 100 GB data + unlimited Social Media + unlimited calls - $74
*international calls to 21 destinations included
Unfortunately STC Saudi Arabia does not offer an e-sim card for their prepaid costumers yet. Click on the link to check the STC website for the latest prepaid sim card deals.
You won't find Virgin Mobile in international airports, only in the bigger shopping malls in Riyadh or Jeddah. They operate on the network of STC and they offer the following prepaid sim cards:
- 51.75 SAR = 2 GB data + 2 GB social media + 100 minutes - $14
- 80.50 SAR = 20 GB data + 500 minutes - $21
- 115 SAR = 25 GB data + 25 GB social media + 1,500 minutes - $31
- 172.50 = 40 GB + unlimited social media + 3,000 minutes - $46
- 247.25 = 100 GB + unlimited social media + 5,000 minutes - $66
For more information check the Virgin Mobile Saudi Arabia website.
Best 4G/5G network in Saudi Arabia
Yes there is 5G in Saudi Arabia and it is wide spread, especially around the best places to visit in Saudi Arabia like Mecca, Medina, Riyadh, Jeddah, Alula.
Let’s have a look at the 4G/5G network coverage maps from Saudi Arabia to determine the best mobile network in Saudi Arabia.
Zain 4G/5G network coverage map
Mobily 4G/5G network coverage map
STC 4G/5G network coverage map
It is no secret that for traveling around Saudi Arabia, especially those who are discovering the country by car, an STC sim card is recommend. STC has by far the best 4G/5G network in Saudi Arabia. However if you just stick to the cities, all three providers offer 5G in Riyadh, Medina, Jeddah and Mecca.
Best prepaid sim card in Saudi Arabia in 2022
When comparing the prices for prepaid sim cards and adding the 4G/5G network coverage to that we can easily conclude that STC is the best prepaid sim card in Saudi Arabia in 2022. They even offer the best deals and already get you 20 GB data for $23.
E-sim card for Saudi Arabia
You can also order an e-sim card for Saudi Arabia directly online! No need to swap a physical sim card, just filled out a code on your mobile and you are online in no-time. Check out the Airalo website for the latest Saudi Arabia sim card deals:
- $6.50 = 1 GB data for 7 days
- $18 = 3 GB data for 30 days
Make sure your phone is e-sim card ready, all newer phones are. You can order the above e-sim card deals for Saudi Arabia directly through the link above. It is a very simple and an easy way to stay connected for your trip to Riyadh.
I hope you like the above tips and tricks for buying a sim card in Saudi Arabia. May you still have questions then please let me know in the comments below. Want to be fuelled by wanderlust then check out my Instagram account @traveltomtom and follow my road to visit every country in the world. On my YouTube channel you will also find a video about how to travel by high speed train from Jeddah to Medina.
Enjoy your trip to Saudi Arabia!