Mobily is one of the top mobile operators in Saudi Arabia. With extensive 4G coverage and competitive data plans, Mobily SIM cards are a great option for tourists visiting Saudi Arabia in 2023. This comprehensive guide covers everything you need to know about buying and using Mobily SIM cards and eSIM in Saudi Arabia.

Mobily SIM Card and eSIM

I. Quick Facts about Mobily

  • Mobily is the second largest telecom operator in Saudi Arabia after STC.
  • It has over 24 million subscribers and market share of around 27%.
  • Mobily offers 2G, 3G, 4G/LTE and 5G mobile networks in Saudi Arabia.
  • In 2021, Mobily’s 4G network covered over 95% of the Saudi population.
  • Mobily was the first operator to launch 5G in Saudi Arabia in 2018. Currently, its 5G network is available in over 27 cities.
  • The operator offers prepaid and postpaid plans for tourists. Prepaid SIMs can be purchased easily from airports, sales centers and local stores.
  • Mobily has roaming agreements with 190 operators globally to offer seamless connectivity abroad.
  • Tourists can buy Mobily eSIM easily from online platforms and activate instantly on their phones.

II. Why Mobily When You’re Exploring Saudi Arabia – Coverage and Speed

1. Mobily Coverage in Saudi Arabia

Mobily SIM card cover map

With over 11,000 4G+ sites, Mobily offers extensive 4G LTE coverage across Saudi Arabia. Its 4G network reaches over 95% of the Saudi population, providing high-speed mobile data in cities as well as remote areas.

Major cities like Riyadh, Jeddah, Mecca, Medina, Taif, Buraydah, Tabuk, Abha, Jazan etc. are completely covered by Mobily’s 4G signals. Even smaller cities and rural areas have fairly good 4G coverage on Mobily.

Mobily was also the first to launch 5G in Saudi in 2018. It has rapidly expanded its 5G network over the past years and currently provides blazing fast 5G speeds in 27 cities. Key metro cities like Riyadh, Jeddah, Dammam, Khobar etc. are covered by 5G but the coverage is still limited compared to 4G.

With such an extensive 4G LTE footprint, strong 5G presence in major cities and 2G/3G fallback, Mobily network ensures reliable connectivity throughout Saudi Arabia for international tourists.

2. Mobily Speed

Mobily SIM card speed
Mobily SIM card upload speed

According to the May 2023 report by mobile analytics firm OpenSignal, Mobily ranked 2nd in download and upload speed in Saudi Arabia. Mobily users experienced average download speeds of 202 Mbps. Mobily comes after STC  which delivered 254.9 Mbps. 

Mobily offers better prices like its 40GB postpaid plan for SAR145, undercutting STC’s same plan by SAR10. Mobily regularly includes substantial data even in basic prepaid recharges unlike STC. With its network performance leadership and competitive plans focused on generous data allowances at low prices, Mobily presents the best value choice for cost-conscious tourists visiting Saudi Arabia. Its speed and affordability make it the recommended operator.

III. Mobily Connectivity Options for Travelers to Saudi Arabia

Mobily offers both prepaid and postpaid connections to tourists visiting Saudi Arabia:

Connectivity OptionSIM CardPocket WiFiRoaming
Pros– Low cost of data packages – Unlimited local connectivity – Coverage across KSA– Connects up to 10 devices – No changing SIMs needed  – Reliable mobile hotspot– Uses existing carrier plan – Familiar phone number – No changing SIMs
Cons– Need compatible phone – Hassle of changing SIMs – May forget to insert SIM– Higher rental costs – Need to carry extra device – Limited data packages– Very expensive rates – Data limits surprised  – Slow speeds compared to local

For tourists visiting Saudi Arabia, the best overall option is to purchase an eSIM data package from a local provider like Mobily via SIM cards provide the most cost-effective way to get fast LTE/5G internet access directly from the local network. Both the affordability and superior speeds mean a SIM card is much more practical for travelers than pocket WiFi or expensive roaming charges from home.

IV. Best Mobily SIM Cards for Tourists & Cost

Below are the best prepaid Mobily SIM card options for tourists in Saudi Arabia with pricing:

PlanDataCalling MinutesSocial MediaValidityTotal Cost (USD)
Prepaid 301 GB1001 GB4 weeks8
Prepaid 755+3 GB5005+3 GB4 weeks20
Prepaid 11010+15 GB150015+15 GB4 weeks29.26
Prepaid 15020+35 GB3000Unlimited4 weeks40
Prepaid 18050+31 GBUnlimitedUnlimited4 weeks48
Prepaid 220100 GBUnlimitedUnlimited4 weeks58.72
Prepaid 360UnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited4 weeks96
Prepaid Weekly2 GB1002 GB1 week6,66
Prepaid DailyUnlimited50Unlimited1 day5,33
Prepaid e-SIM 220100 GBUnlimitedUnlimited4 weeks30.75

Overall, the Mobily Tourist SIM provides the best value with high data limits and calling/text. It’s meant exclusively for short-term traveling.

the Prepaid 150, 180 and Daily plans deliver strong data allowances ideal for digital tourism needs. The Weekly plan is also a cost-effective choice for short stays. All provide nationwide coverage and one less thing for tourists to worry about.

V. Does Mobily Support eSIM in Saudi Arabia?

Yes, Mobily does offer eSIM (electronic SIM) connectivity for latest phones and smartwatches in Saudi Arabia.

Instead of physical plastic Mobily SIM card, eSIMs are embedded digital SIM profiles that can be activated over-the-air on compatible devices. You won’t waste your time choosing too many operations for your trip if you visit Saudi Arabia eSIM, tourists can easily get Saudi connectivity on their phones without having to buy and insert a local physical SIM. With affordable prices from 13.5$ – 127.5$, you can own a great eSIM for your travel.

Mobily eSIM allows multiple profiles so you can also use your home country SIM alongside. Switching between profiles is instant. However, eSIM is still relatively new in Saudi and has limited availability. But it’s a convenient future-proof option for eSIM capable phones like latest iPhones, Google Pixel etc.

VI. Where can You Buy a Mobily SIM card and eSIM?

1. Where to Buy Mobily SIM card for Saudi Arabia?

Mobily SIM card store

As a tourist, you can easily find and purchase Mobily SIM cards at these places across Saudi Arabia:

  • At major airports – Mobily shops are present at key airports like Jeddah, Riyadh, Dammam etc. where you can buy SIM card easily upon arrival.
  • Mobily Sales Centers – Visit nearest Mobily store in your city to purchase new connection. Sales centers are there in all major cities.
  • Local Mobile Shops – Many authorized resellers also sell Mobily prepaid SIMs in most cities, towns and villages across Saudi.
  • Online – Mobily prepaid SIM card can also be ordered online on Mobily website for delivery in Saudi Arabia.
  • Mobily Stores – General Mobily branded stores also offer prepaid SIM cards along with postpaid connections.

Once you have the SIM, insert it into your unlocked phone and follow activation process. Top-up required to make calls, send SMS and use mobile data.

2. Where to Buy Mobily eSIM in Saudi Arabia?

Mobily eSIM profile has limited availability as it’s still a new technology. You can purchase it via:

  • Mobily Website – Order Mobily eSIM online from official website. Profile will be emailed for activation.
  • Mobily App – The MyMobily app also allows instant purchase and activation of eSIM.
  • Third-party resellers – Some trusted resellers like SimOptions also sell Mobily eSIM for hassle-free online delivery.

Since eSIM activation is completely digital, you can purchase an eSIM even before arriving in Saudi Arabia. Skipping the hassle of buying a physical SIM card, offers travelers affordable eSIM plans for Saudi Arabia that are easy to activate. Whether you’re in Saudi Arabia for 3 days or 30, Saudi Arabia eSIM has a plan for your trip.

Tips for you on buying Mobily SIM/eSIM in Saudi Arabia

  • Major airports and Mobily stores offer starter packs; others may only have top-ups.
  • Consider eSIM for activation without waiting, or higher data packs like Prepaid 180.
  • Keep receipts and download the Mobily app before travel.

VII. How to Activate Mobily SIM/eSIM in Saudi Arabia?

Activating Mobily SIM/eSIM is an easy task. If this is your first time using it, please check the instructions below.

1. How to Use Mobily SIM Card in Saudi Arabia?

Activating prepaid Mobily SIM card is quite easy and quick:

  1. Unlock Phone: Ensure your phone is unlocked to use foreign SIM cards.
  2. Insert SIM: Remove previous SIM and insert the Mobily SIM into your phone.
  3. Restart Phone: Power phone off and on to detect the new SIM.
  4. Automatic Configuration: Mobily SIM will automatically configure your network settings.
  5. Top-up SIM: You need to recharge with a top-up voucher to activate outgoing services.
  6. Check Balance: Dial *889# to check your main balance after recharging SIM.

You are ready to start using Mobily SIM in Saudi Arabia!

2. How to Activate Mobily eSIM?

To activate Mobily eSIM on your phone:

  1. Make sure your phone supports eSIM functionality. Latest iPhones, Pixels, Galaxies etc. allow eSIM.
  2. Purchase Mobily eSIM pack and obtain the QR code or activation details.
  3. On your phone, go into eSIM/cellular settings and choose to add a new eSIM profile.
  4. Scan the QR code or enter details manually to download the Mobily eSIM.
  1. Follow prompts to activate the eSIM. May require a quick verification step.
  2. Once activated, you can use Mobily eSIM in Saudi Arabia on your phone.

Please check your detailed instructions below:

  • Activate eSIM on iPhone
  • Activate eSIM on Samsung phones
  • Activate eSIM on Google Pixel Phones

Switch between physical SIM and eSIM profiles easily as needed. Enjoy the convenience!

VIII. Saudi Arabia Mobily Call & SMS Rates

Here are the latest Mobily prepaid rates (as of October 2023) for calls and texts while travelling in Saudi Arabia:

  • Call Type Rate Calls to Mobily Numbers USD 0.026/min Calls to other operators SAR 0.0399/min International Calls Varies by country SMS to Mobily Numbers SAR 0.026/SMS SMS to other operators SAR 0.0399/SMS International SMS Varies by country Other important details:
    • Calls are rounded up to the nearest minute and charged per second thereafter
    • SMS bundles are available for discounted rates
    • Special rates apply for calls to mobiles on international roaming
    • A connection fee of SAR 0.50 applies to all incoming calls
    • Additional taxes apply to rates

Bundled packs offer discounted rates. Calls to special numbers like toll-free, emergency services are free.

While roaming abroad, custom IR packages determine call, SMS and data rates. Check roaming page for latest roaming rates.

IX. Useful USSD Codes for Mobily SIM/eSIM

Mobily offers various USSD codes for checking balance, recharging and other self-care functions:

  • *100# – Check main account balance
  • *101# – Check data balance
  • *222*CODE# – Balance transfer from main balance
  • *107# – Check remaining plan validity
  • *135*ComboCode# – Activates combo pack
  • *889# – Customer care menu

Dial the USSD codes directly on your phone dial pad to use it when using Mobily in Saudi Arabia.

X. How to Top-up Mobily SIM/eSIM

To add talktime/data on your Mobily prepaid SIM or eSIM, you need to recharge it through:

  • Recharge Cards – Most convenient way. Buy Mobily top-up voucher from local stores, sales centers and recharge.
  • Online Top-up – Register your Mobily number on recharge portal for online recharge using credit card.
  • Mobily App – MyMobily app allows instant online recharge directly through app using Saudi debit/credit card.
  • Bank Transfer – Recharge through bank transfer to your linked Mobily prepaid account.

Minimum top-up amounts start from 10 SAR. Data packs, combo packs available for tourists. Dial *100# to check balance.

XI. FAQs about Mobily in Saudi Arabia

1. Does Mobily offer tourist SIM card in Saudi?

Yes, Mobily has a dedicated tourist SIM card with 60GB data and 500 local minutes+texts. It’s meant for short term travel use.

2. How long is Mobily tourist SIM card valid?

The Mobily tourist SIM has a validity of 7 days. You need to recharge it with a top-up for further use after a week.

3. Can I use WhatsApp calls on Mobily?

Yes, Mobily prepaid plans allow access to apps like WhatsApp, Skype, Viber for free messaging and VoIP calls over data.

4. Is prepaid Mobily SIM card registered?

No, Mobily prepaid is anonymous, no registration required. But you need passport at time of purchase.

5. Does Mobily SIM work in other GCC countries?

Mobily has roaming agreements with most GCC operators. But roaming rates are high so use with caution.

XII. Final Words

In summary, Mobily SIM cards provide excellent connectivity and speeds for tourists visiting Saudi Arabia. Their wide 4G coverage, fast 5G networks, and affordable prepaid plans make them a great local SIM option during your travels. The new eSIM support also enables digital connectivity for latest phones. Overall, Mobily ticks all the requirements for hassle-free mobile access in Saudi Arabia for international tourists.