The ability to stay connected is crucial for modern travelers, and having a local SIM card can make your trip to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, much more convenient and cost-effective. Riyadh, the capital city, is a bustling metropolis that attracts visitors from around the world for its rich cultural heritage, stunning architecture, and vibrant social scene. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the best options for purchasing a SIM card in Riyadh, ensuring you stay connected throughout your unforgettable journey.

How to Buy A SIM Card in Riyadh

I. Which Mobile Operator is The Best in Riyadh?

Riyadh is served by several major mobile network providers, each offering a range of plans and services tailored to different needs. To help you make an informed decision, here’s a comparison table of the top mobile operators in the city:

OperatorCoveragePrice Range (SIM Card)ProsCons
Saudi Telecom Company (STC)Excellent nationwide coverageSAR 25-100Reliable network, fast 4G/5G speeds, attractive data packagesHigher prices compared to some rivals
MobilyGood coverage in major citiesSAR 20-75Affordable plans, competitive data offeringsLimited coverage in rural areas
ZainExtensive 4G coverageSAR 30-90Good customer service, international roaming optionsFewer promotions and discounts
Virgin MobileGrowing 4G networkSAR 15-60Budget-friendly plans, no annual contractsLimited coverage outside cities

While all operators offer reliable services, STC and Mobily are often considered the top choices for their widespread coverage, fast data speeds, and diverse plan offerings. For the best value overall, Mobily is a highly recommended operator for tourists in this city. 

II. Best Riyadh SIM Card and Cost

STC, Mobily and Zain provide excellent options to keep tourists connected while traveling in Jeddah. The plans offer generous data bundles as well as call and social media quotas to suit different usage needs. Here are some of the best SIM card options for travelers in Riyadh:

Plan NameNetworkDataCallsSocial DataValidityPrice (USD)
sawa flex 240STC100GB1300 mins local + intlUnlimitedN/A$100
MobiKing PlusMobily45GBUnlimited to Mobily, 500 mins othersN/AN/A$36
125GB Internet + 100GB SocialZain125GB dataN/A100GB social data3 months$81

With prepaid options from all major operators, tourists have many reliable SIM card choices to remain in touch with friends and family back home or explore Riyadh freely without disruptions. Proper research and preparations will help visitors obtain the right plan upon arrival in the city.

III. Where to Buy A SIM in Riyadh

1. Getting a SIM Card at Riyadh Airport

Getting SIM card in Riyadh - Airport kiosk
Getting SIM card in Riyadh – Airport kiosk

The most convenient option for many travelers is to purchase a SIM card upon arrival at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh. Finding the major mobile operators kiosks or stores within the airport terminals, making it easy to get connected right away.

Potential downsides

  • Limited options: The airport stores may not offer the full range of plans and promotions available elsewhere.
  • Higher prices: Airport prices for SIM cards and plans can sometimes be slightly higher compared to regular stores.

2. Getting a Prepaid SIM Card in Riyadh

Buying SIM card in Riyadh city - Operators Store
Buying SIM card in Riyadh city – Operators Store

If you prefer to explore your options or find better deals, you can purchase a SIM card from any of the mobile operators’ retail stores or authorized resellers throughout Riyadh.

  • Operator brand stores: These are the official stores of each mobile operator, such as STC, Mobily, and Zain, where you can find the latest plans and promotions.
  • Shopping malls: Many major shopping malls in Riyadh, such as Kingdom Centre, Riyadh Gallery, and Hayat Mall, have mobile operator kiosks or stores.
  • Supermarkets and convenience stores: Some supermarkets and convenience stores in Riyadh also sell prepaid SIM cards and top-up vouchers.

IV. eSIM for Riyadh Travelers – A Smart Alternative

With instant activation of the eSIM upon purchase, travelers can hit the ground running without wasting time at stores. The eSIM is considered the smartest choice for digital nomads and travelers as it provides seamless connectivity without hassles.

Here are some benefits of using an eSIM in Riyadh:

  • Convenience: No need to physically swap SIM cards or visit a store. eSIMs can be activated and installed remotely, saving time and hassle.
  • Compatibility: Many modern smartphones and tablets support eSIM technology, making it easy to stay connected on multiple devices.
  • Flexibility: With an eSIM, you can easily switch between different mobile plans or carriers without changing your physical SIM card.
  • Cost-effectiveness: eSIM plans are often competitively priced, and you can avoid roaming charges by purchasing a local eSIM plan in Riyadh.
  • Instant connectivity: Once activated, your eSIM will provide immediate access to mobile data and voice services, ensuring a seamless transition upon arrival in Riyadh. provides the perfect solution as the top eSIM service provider in the country. Tourists can purchase flexible data packages starting from just $5.50 for 3 days – ensuring seamless Internet access everywhere within Riyadh.

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V. Things to Prepare When Buying SIM Cards in The City

Before you venture out to purchase a SIM card in Riyadh, it’s essential to have the necessary documentation and prepare for the process.

Required Documentation

  • Passport: You will need to present your passport as a valid form of identification when purchasing a SIM card in Riyadh. This is a legal requirement in Saudi Arabia.
  • Visa or Residence Permit (if applicable): If you are a non-Saudi resident or have a long-term visa, you may need to provide additional documentation, such as your residence permit.
  • Proof of Address (optional): Some mobile operators may request proof of your local address, such as a hotel reservation or rental agreement, although this is not always required for tourists.

Other Considerations

  • Cash: While most stores and kiosks accept credit/debit cards, it’s always a good idea to have some cash on hand, especially for purchasing prepaid top-up vouchers or paying any additional fees.

By being prepared with the required documentation and considering these factors, you can ensure a smooth and hassle-free experience when purchasing a SIM card in Riyadh.

VI. Tips and Recommendations

As someone who has experienced traveling in Riyadh, here are some valuable tips and recommendations for tourists when buying SIM cards in the city:

  1. Timing: Avoid purchasing a SIM card during peak hours or weekends when stores are likely to be crowded. Early mornings or weekdays tend to be less busy, allowing for a more efficient and personalized experience.
  2. Research: Before your trip, research the different mobile operators, their plans, and coverage areas. This will help you make an informed decision and save time when purchasing a SIM card in Riyadh.
  3. Data Add-ons and Top-ups: If you plan to stay in Riyadh for an extended period, consider purchasing a plan with a higher data allowance or be prepared to purchase data add-ons or top-ups as needed.
  4. Activation and Setup: Ask the store staff for assistance in activating and setting up your new SIM card. They can guide you through the process and ensure everything is working correctly before you leave the store.
  5. Roaming Options: If you plan to travel to other parts of Saudi Arabia or neighboring countries, inquire about international roaming options and packages to avoid excessive charges.
  6. Online Resources: Utilize online forums, travel blogs, and social media groups dedicated to Riyadh or Saudi Arabia to gather insights and tips from fellow travelers who have recently purchased SIM cards in the city.
  7. Additional Fees: Be aware of any additional fees or charges that may apply, such as activation fees, SIM card deposits, or taxes. Clarify these costs upfront to avoid any surprises.
  8. Network Testing: Once you have your new SIM card, test the network coverage and data speeds in different areas of the city to ensure a consistent and reliable connection.

By following these tips and recommendations, you can navigate the process of buying a SIM card in Riyadh with ease and make the most of your connectivity during your stay.


Do I need to register my SIM card in Riyadh?

Yes, it is mandatory to register your SIM card with the mobile operator in Saudi Arabia. This process typically involves providing your passport and other personal information.

Can I use my existing SIM card from my home country in Riyadh?

While it is possible to use your existing SIM card in Riyadh, it may incur costly roaming charges. It is generally more cost-effective to purchase a local SIM card in Riyadh.

How long does a prepaid SIM card remain valid in Riyadh?

Most prepaid SIM cards in Riyadh have a validity period of 30 days. However, you can typically extend the validity by purchasing a top-up or renewing your plan before it expires.

Can I use mobile data and make international calls with a Riyadh SIM card?

Yes, most SIM card plans in Riyadh include mobile data and allow you to make international calls, although additional charges may apply. Check with your mobile operator for specific rates and packages.

Do I need to unlock my phone to use a Riyadh SIM card?

If your phone is locked to a specific carrier or network, you will need to unlock it before you can use a Riyadh SIM card. Contact your home carrier or follow the manufacturer’s instructions to unlock your device.

Are there any age restrictions for purchasing a SIM card in Riyadh?

There are typically no age restrictions for purchasing a SIM card in Riyadh. However, minors may need to be accompanied by a parent or guardian to complete the registration process.

VIII. Conclusion

Staying connected during your travels in Riyadh is essential, and purchasing a local SIM card can be a convenient and cost-effective solution. In this comprehensive guide, we have explored the best mobile operators, SIM card options, and purchasing locations in Riyadh, as well as tips and recommendations from experienced travelers.

Additionally, eSIMs from are emerging as a smart alternative for travelers, offering convenience and flexibility without the need for physical SIM card swaps.