King Abdulaziz International Airport, commonly known as Jeddah Airport, is the gateway for millions of tourists to Saudi Arabia every year. Getting a SIM card for your mobile phone is essential when traveling in Saudi Arabia, so you can easily access maps, communicate with locals, use ride-sharing apps etc. This comprehensive guide is everything a must-know to get a SIM card at Jeddah Airport. It tells you everything.
Table of Contents
I. Where to Buy a SIM Card at Jeddah Airport
When you arrive at Jeddah Airport in Jeddah, you’ll find several options for purchasing a Saudi SIM card right at the airport. Here are the main places to buy a SIM card at Jeddah airport after you clear immigration and customs:
1. STC Kiosks at Jeddah airport
Type of SIM Cards
- Prepaid SIM cards with data packages specially aimed at tourists.
- Packages include data allowances ranging from 1GB to 100GB, social media bundles and call minutes.
- The plans are valid for periods ranging from 2 weeks to 1 month depending on the package.
- The kiosk is located in the arrivals terminal near the exit.
- When the airport is in operation it must be open throughout the duration of the flight. However, no specific opening/closing times are given.
- The STC kiosk, along with the Mobily and Zain kiosks, are located right at the exit of Jeddah Airport’s international arrivals terminal.
- English and Arabic speaking staff at the kiosk to assist travellers.
- Activation and SIM card instructions in English and Arabic.
2. Mobily Kiosks
Type of SIM Cards:
- Mobily offers various prepaid data packages to visitors on their SIM card.
- Packages range from smaller 1GB plans to larger 50GB or 100GB options.
- They also include call/SMS allowance and validity period up to 1 month.
- The Mobily kiosk is located at the airport near the exit.
- It remains open throughout commercial flight arrivals with no specific schedule.
- The kiosk stands right next to the STC and Jain kiosks at the International Arrivals exit.
- It is located in the main departure hall before leaving the Jeddah Airport Building.
- English- and Arabic-speaking representatives assist passengers at kiosks.
- SIM card activation instructions and packaging are bilingual in English and Arabic.
3. Zain Kiosks
Type of SIM Cards:
- Zain offers tourist prepaid SIM cards with data bundles upon arrival in Saudi Arabia.
- SIM packages include allowances starting from 1GB valid for 2 weeks upto 25GB bundles.
- Some plans also include social media access and call minutes.
- The Zain kiosk is located inside the airport terminal near the exit point.
- It operates during commercial flight arrival times but fixed hours are not mentioned.
- Situated next to STC and Mobily kiosks right at the exit of international arrivals hall.
- Highly visible before passengers exit the terminal building into the airport.
- English and Arabic speaking staff assist travelers purchasing SIM cards.
- SIM activation instructions and package details provided in both English and Arabic.
4. Other Retail Shops
In addition to the main carrier kiosks, you may also find smaller retail shops selling SIM card at Jeddah Airport from STC, Mobily and Zain. Prices are generally the same as directly purchasing from the main kiosks.
No matter which shop you purchase from, be sure to compare plans and prices to find the best SIM card deal for your needs in Saudi Arabia. Also confirm they can register the SIM with your passport before purchasing.
II. Jeddah SIM Card Options and Costs
When looking to buy a Saudi Arabia SIM card at Jeddah Airport, you’ll find a lot of prepaid plans and packages to buy. Here’s an overview of the major options you’ll see:
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As you can see, costs range from $9-40 USD depending on the amount of data, minutes and texts you need during your stay. If you have a short trip, SIM options with limited data may more suitable, while a longer stay will require a more data plan.
- Prices may vary depending on the retailer and SIM card provider.
- Some SIM cards may require a deposit, which will be refunded at the end of the trip by refunding the SIM card.
- Remember to check if your phone is compatible with your chosen SIM card.
III. What You Need to Prepare for Getting a SIM Card at Jeddah Airport
When you want to buy your Saudi Arabia SIM card at Jeddah Airport, there are a few important things to take note of:
Passport Required – You will need to show your physical passport at the SIM card kiosk for registering the SIM card. Be ready to provide your passport details when making the purchase.
Unlocked Phone – Your phone must be unlocked for use on cellular networks other than your home carrier. Contact your home provider in advance to request your phone be network unlocked.
Know Your Data Needs – Decide how much data you’ll need during your time in Saudi Arabia. More data equals higher cost, so don’t overbuy if you won’t use it.
Cash or Credit Card – Have Saudi Riyal cash or an international credit card on hand for paying for your SIM card. Some kiosks may not accept foreign cash.
SIM Card Format – Ensure your phone uses a standard size SIM card – either regular SIM or microSIM. Nano SIMs will require a SIM adapter.
Charged Phone Battery – You’ll need ample battery charge left on your phone to set up the SIM card, install provided apps, and configure mobile data/APN settings.
With these tips in mind, purchasing a SIM card upon arrival at Jeddah Airport will be quick and easy. You’ll have mobile data working in no time.
IV. eSIM as an Alternative to SIM Card at Jeddah Airport
In recent years, eSIM (embedded SIM) has emerged as a convenient alternative to physical SIM cards when traveling internationally. Instead of inserting a plastic SIM card into your phone, an eSIM uses a digital profile downloaded to your phone.
Some key benefits of using eSIM rather than a local SIM card at Jeddah Airport include:
- No need to find a kiosk – You can setup an eSIM for Saudi Arabia before you depart or upon arrival via app.
- Remote activation – eSIMs can be activated over-the-air, no shop visit needed.
- Multi eSIMs – Some phones allow setting up multiple eSIMs from different providers.
- Flexibility – eSIMs allow quickly switching data plans as needed for each country.
However, eSIM also has limitations to consider:
- Limited providers – Don’t worry if you have a Saudi Arabia eSIM for fast speed at a reasonable cost.
- Phone compatibility – Only newer smartphone models have eSIM capability.
- Setup complications – Can be trickier getting eSIM properly configured versus a physical SIM card.
For travelers with compatible phones visiting Saudi Arabia, eSIM remains an appealing option over traditional SIM cards, granting added flexibility.
V. FAQs About Getting SIM Card at Jeddah Airport
1. Do I need to show my passport to get a SIM card at the Jeddah airport?
Yes, you will need to provide your passport at the kiosk for the agent to register the SIM card under your name as required by Saudi law.
2. Can I use cash to purchase a SIM card at Jeddah airport?
Most kiosks accept credit/debit cards and some may accept Saudi Riyal cash. Foreign currencies may not be accepted, so have SAR cash available.
3. How long does it take to activate the SIM card?
Activation only takes a few minutes in most cases. The attendant will insert the SIM, configure settings, and get mobile data working quickly.
4. Can I use my existing SIM card from home in Saudi Arabia?
Unfortunately, international roaming with your home SIM is usually very expensive. A local Saudi SIM is highly recommended.
5. Do I need to show proof of departure to get a SIM card?
No, proof of onward travel is generally not required at King Abdulaziz Airport for SIM card purchase.
6. Can I get a SIM card if I’m transiting through Saudi Arabia?
Yes, transit passengers can also purchase SIM cards at Jeddah Airport despite not entering the country.
Getting a Saudi SIM card upon arrival is quite seamless at Jeddah Airport. With a bit of advance preparation, you’ll have affordable mobile data in no time.
VI. Final Words
A SIM card is an essential item for any visit to Saudi Arabia, allowing you to freely use data across the Kingdom for navigation, transportation, guides, messaging and calls.
The major telecoms STC, Mobily and Zain offer prepaid SIM packages right at Jeddah Airport’s arrival halls. For just 20-150 SAR ($5-40 USD), you can get a Saudi SIM loaded with ample data and minutes for your stay.
Following the tips outlined here, the process of obtaining a SIM card at Jeddah airport is quick and painless. With mobile data activated upon arrival, you’re ready to explore!