Staying connected while traveling is essential in today’s digital age. For tourists visiting Saudi Arabia, choosing a SIM solution from major network provider Zain offers reliability and convenience. It ensures travelers can navigate destinations, communicate through messaging apps, and share their experiences abroad with ease.

This guide provides an overview of Zain SIM card options, as well as alternatives, to help travelers stay connected during their time in the kingdom.

Zain SIM card and eSIM

I. Quick facts about Zain

Zain - One of the Best Mobile Operators in Saudi Arabia

Zain is one of the leading telecom operators in KSA with a wide coverage network across the country. Here are some quick facts about this company:

  • Founded in: 1983
  • Full company name: Zain Group (was formerly known as MTC Group)
  • Types of services provided: Mobile voice and data services (2G, 3G, 4G networks), fixed line, enterprise solutions, digital services
  • Number of subscribers: Over 47 million subscribers across 8 countries in MENA region as of 2021
  • Coverage: Extensive 4G coverage in KSA including major cities and along main highways. Claims to cover over 95% of populated areas in the kingdom.
  • Estimated number of network stores and agents: Over 500 Zain branded stores and thousands of agents across KSA
  • Customer support: 24/7 on-call support available in English, Arabic. Live chat, email, social media also options. Stores provide face-to-face assistance during business hours.

As one of the pioneers of telecom services in Saudi Arabia, Zain continues expanding its digital footprint and catering to customers across the kingdom with reliable mobile coverage and convenient solutions.

II. Saudi Arabia Zain Coverage and Speed

1. Zain coverage in Saudi Arabia

Zain SIM card coverage map
Zain coverage map. Source:

Zain provides extensive 4G/LTE mobile coverage across Saudi Arabia through its nationwide network infrastructure. The telecom operator has deployed 4G signals to cover over 95% of populated areas in all 13 provinces of the country, including major urban centers as well as smaller towns and remote regions.

Cities like Riyadh, Jeddah, and Dammam enjoy near-complete indoor and outdoor 4G accessibility to support high-speed mobile internet use. Even provinces that contain vast desert territories or mountainous regions, such as Northern Borders and Tabuk, have solid 4G connectivity available outdoors.

2. Zain speed

Zain Speed in Saudi
Zain Speed in Saudi. Source: Opensignal

Zain invests heavily in its 4G infrastructure to provide customers with blazing fast speeds. Independent testing by Opensignal has found Zain’s average 5G download speed to be around 198.2 Mbps, making it the fastest major network in the country. These speeds are more than sufficient for seamless HD video streaming, online gaming, and large file transfers on the go.

Urban centers see Zain’s peak speeds outperform competitors, while coverage zone speeds remain consistently quick. Even in rural areas where density is lower, data performance holds up reliably for enjoyable internet use. This ensures seamless connectivity whether one is in a bustling city or remote natural setting.

III. Zain connectivity options for travelers to Saudi Arabia

Zain offers prepaid SIM cards and eSIM for tourists and short term visitors to get connected quickly and conveniently in Saudi Arabia:

Public WiFiFree;
Available in many areas
Limited coverage;
No guarantee of speed/reliability
Pocket WiFiPortable coverage;
Connects multiple devices
Extra cost;
Still reliant on mobile network
Zain SIM CardAffordable data packages;
Unlimited coverage
Requires local SIM purchase/activation
Roaming with ZainNo SIM trouble;
Uses home number/plan
Very high usage rates;
Data packages advisable

In conclusion, Public WiFi and Roaming may be suitable for those who primarily need basic web browsing or messaging and don’t require high data volumes. Pocket WiFi rental is best for groups or families traveling together, as it allows everyone to stay connected through one portable device. For the best overall value, flexibility and performance, a prepaid SIM card is highly recommended.

IV. Best Zain SIM cards for tourists & cost

Zain’s prepaid SIM card lineup offers plenty of flexibility for tourists to Saudi Arabia. Let’s take a look at their best plans:

PackageData AllotmentValid ForActivation CodeCost (USD)
Visitor 303GB2 weeks3030$9.20
Visitor 5015GB2 weeks5050$15.30
Visitor 7010GB4 weeks7070$21.40
Visitor 13025GB4 weeks1300$39.80

Zain offers convenient prepaid mobile data packages for visitors to Saudi Arabia. Their lineup of plans provides options for different data needs and budget levels. Their prepaid data packages empower visitors to stay digitally connected while traveling freely without worrying about heavy roaming fees.

V. Does Zain Saudi Arabia support eSIM?

Yes, Zain is at the forefront of supporting eSIM technology in Saudi Arabia. They are one of the first mobile operators in the region to offer eSIM profile downloads and flexible eSIM plans.

Travelers with eSIM-enabled devices can easily activate a Zain eSIM online before their trip. Plans are available on prepaid bases with a variety of data package options. This allows connectivity to be set up remotely without the need to purchase a physical nano-SIM card. Once activated, you can enjoy seamless connectivity immediately upon arriving in KSA.

For travelers visiting Saudi Arabia, eSIM provides a convenient alternative to bringing a physical Zain SIM card. provides fast 4G data without the hassle of finding and activating a physical SIM card locally. offers the best near-local price eSIM starting at just $5

VI. Where can you buy a Zain SIM card and eSIM?

1. Where to buy Zain SIM Card for Saudi Arabia?

Where to buy Zain SIM card
Where to buy Zain SIM card?

As Saudi Arabia’s second largest network, it’s easy to find Zain SIM card at:

  • Zain Stores: Zain has branded stores located across major cities in Saudi Arabia. These stores offer SIM cards and assistance with activations. Popular malls like Tahliah Mall in Riyadh have Zain outlets.
  • Airports: The international airports in Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam have Zain service desks that provide SIM cards to arriving travelers.
  • Currency Exchange Stores: Major currency exchange chains like AlJawhara and Albilad sell SIMs and can help activate tourist SIM packages.

Visitors can pickup a SIM at airport arrival or visit any nearby retailer. Online ordering ensures connectivity on landing.

2. Where to buy Saudi Arabia Zain eSIM?

Where to buy Zain eSIM
Where to buy Zain eSIM?

Zain eSIM profiles can be purchased through:

  • Online via Zain website/app: Zain allows travelers to purchase an eSIM package and download the profile online before arrival. A valid passport is required.
  • Zain stores: Branded Zain retail outlets located in malls and commercial areas can assist with purchasing and activating an eSIM plan.
  • As the No.1 eSIM provider for tourists in Saudi Arabia, taps into Zain’s high-speed network, letting you access fast internet across the country without roaming charges.
Stream, snap, share - endless Saudi Arabia with no data cap.

The most hassle-free options are ordering online in advance from the Zain website/app. Prepare the necessary documents simplified the activation process.

VII. How to activate Zain Saudi Arabia SIM/eSIM?

Activating a new Zain SIM card or eSIM is quick and easy:

1. How to use Saudi Arabia Zain SIM card?

Before activating your SIM card, ensure you have an unlocked phone and international roaming enabled for smooth activation of Zain SIM cards in KSA

  • Step1: Obtain the standard or nano SIM size you need for your phone
  • Step 2: Insert SIM and reboot device. It will auto-configure settings.
  • Step 3: You may get a welcome SMS to choose your preferred package.
  • Step 4: Select a data package plan

Once activate, you can start using mobile internet on your Zain SIM card.

2. How to activate Saudi Arabia Zain eSIM?

  • If you got the eSIM voucher online, email it to your iPhone before landing.
  • Go into Settings > Cellular Data > Add Cellular Plan on eSIM compatible iPhones
  • Scan the QR code or enter details manually from the eSIM voucher to activate.
  • May need a verification SMS to complete activation.
  • Dual SIM iPhones let you use eSIM and physical SIM together.

VIII. Saudi Arabia Zain Call & SMS Rates

Zain offer prepaid SIM tourists very good value on calls and texts to local and international numbers:

Type of Call/SMSRate in SARRate in USD
Calls to Zain numbersSR 0.11 per minute$0.03 per minute
Calls to other operators in KSASR 0.22 per minute$0.06 per minute
International callsSR 0.5-2.5 per minute (varies by destination)$0.13-0.66 per minute (varies by destination)
SMS to Zain numbersSR 0.10 per SMS$0.03 per SMS
SMS to other operators in KSASR 0.15 per SMS$0.04 per SMS
International SMSSR 0.5-1 per SMS (varies by destination)$0.13-0.26 per SMS(varies by destination)

In summary, Zain offers competitive in-network call and SMS pricing in KSA. Plans also provide good value international benefits. Rates are slightly higher for calls to other operators but still reasonable.

IX. Useful USSD Codes for Zain Saudi Arabia SIM/eSIM

Zain prepaid users can check balances and settings quickly using these codes:

  • *140*1# – Check remaining credit balance
  • *140*2# – Check data balance
  • *140*3# – Check call forwarding status
  • *140*4# – Check current plan/pack subscribed
  • *140*5# – Check SMS bundles available
  • *140*6# – Check Zain points
  • 125# – Activate Zain WiFi Calling
  • 126# – Check WiFi Calling status

Many other codes available to change language, check offers and configure your SIM.

X. How to Top-up Zain Saudi Arabia SIM/eSIM

Adding more credit to extend usage validity on your Zain prepaid SIM is easy:

  • Using Vouchers: Recharge cards available from ~$3 to $133 sold at thousands of retail outlets. Scratch card to reveal code then enter *144*recharge code#
  • Online Top-up: Use credit/debit cards on Zain website or app. Instant recharge with confirmation SMS.
  • ATM Top-up: Many ATMs in Saudi Arabia support mobile top-ups for Zain and other networks. Insert card, select mobile recharge, enter number and amount.

Keeping your prepaid SIM active is effortless with abundant top-up options across Saudi Arabia. Large credit validity makes recharging infrequent.

XI. FAQs about Zain in Saudi Arabia

Do you need an ID to buy a Zain SIM in Saudi Arabia?

Yes, you need to show your passport at Zain stores to purchase and register a prepaid Zain SIM card or eSIM pack.

Can I use my Zain SIM Card in other countries?

Zain Saudi Arabia SIMs only provide service within the country. But you can enable Saudi Arabia roaming with your home SIM/eSIM to stay connected.

How long is Zain Saudi prepaid SIM valid for?

Regular prepaid SIM has a validity of 180 days from activation or last recharge. Tourist SIMs have shorter 30 day validity. Credit never expires.

Does Zain have good coverage in Mecca and Medina?

Yes, Zain has excellent 4G coverage in the holy cities leveraging Mobily’s networks via national roaming agreements. 5G is now live in Mecca.

Where are Zain service centers in Saudi Arabia?

Zain has over 1300 branded stores across all major cities in Saudi Arabia. Store finder is available on their website and app. Many partner retailers also offer support.

XII. Final Words

In conclusion, Zain SIM card plans provide reliable connectivity options for tourists visiting Saudi Arabia. Consider the best will depend on factors like trip length, data needs, and device compatibility. While SIM cards are convenient for extended stays, an eSIM eases activation hassles for shorter trips through their digital convenience. So, consider to make the most of your Saudi adventure without breaking the bank on data with