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Sa

Basics Edit

These are the mobile GSM providers in Saudi Arabia:

  • STC (Jawwy)
  • Mobily
  • Zain

Since 2014 different MVNOs started in Saudia Arabia too. The most accessible to foreigners are Virgin Mobile, Friendi and Lebara mobile.

Frequencies Edit

For all 3 providers:

  • 2G/GSM is on 900 and 1800 MHz up to EDGE
  • 3G is on 2100 MHz with all providers and additionally on 900 MHz on Zain only up to HSPA+. Some providers have announced to shut down 3G in 2020.
  • 4G/LTE in on 1800 MHz (B3) with all providers. Additionally there is TD-LTE on 2300 MHz (B40) on STC, TD-LTE on 2600 MHz (B38) with Mobily and FD-LTE on 2100 MHz (B1) on Zain.
  • 5G has been started in 2019 in some cities in the Kingdom

Coverage and speeds Edit

Coverage is quite good in populated areas and along highways, but can be down to non-existent in remote places. STC is said to have the best coverage and speed, followed by Mobily and Zain in 3rd place.

Regulations Edit

To buy a SIM card in a store, you have to show a photo ID (and possibly your visa) in a store of the operators. In a tightening of laws you are expected to give your fingerprints too from 2015. Note, that in public places you will be offered SIM cards by street vendors that are registered on someone's name. This should only be used as a last resort, as this is illegal and these cards can easily be switched off when detected.

In 2016 the regulator disconnected unregistered mobile subscribers, which had failed to submit their fingerprints in line with the new security measures introduced in 2015. The regulator said the fingerprint registration is meant to protect personal information of SIM cardholders and prevent buyers from obtaining mobile phones using fake or stolen ID cards.

In 2017 limits on the ownership of prepaid SIM cards in the country have been imposed by the regulator. Foreign residents (who make up more than 1/3 of the population) are now reportedly limited to 2 prepaid SIM cards across all providers, while Saudis are restricted to as many as 10 prepaid SIM cards. This is considered a temporary procedure to curtail the large number of illegal SIM cards in the market.

The Saudi regulator (CITC) announced that mobile users are no longer required to enter their identification numbers to recharge prepaid SIM cards. The commission had made it mandatory for prepaid SIM users to enter their ID (Iqama) numbers in 2012 in a bid to curb the sale of unauthorized SIM cards.

In 2018 a new tax of 5% is imposed to any top-ups or packages which is not yet fully included in all prices below.

Censorship Edit

Saudi Arabian internet is filtered through a content filter. Sites that are considered offensive by the authorities are blacked out. But most social media or messenging through Twitter or WhatsApp are not restricted.

VoIP ban lifted Edit

In September 2017 the Saudi Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC) announced the lifting of the ban on all applications that provide voice and video call services over the internet, including FaceTime, Snapchat, Skype, Line, Telegram, Tango, Viber or WhatsApp calls and video calls. The apps need to meet imposed regulatory requirements, including the removal of content that violates the Kingdom’s regulations. Be aware that any traffic through these apps will be heavily monitored by the authoritites.

STC (Jawwy)Edit

Stc

STC for Saudi Telecom Company, mostly owned by the state, is market leader in Saudi Arabia with the best coverage and speed throughout the country: mobile coverage. It started with LTE in 2010 and covers around 90% of population by 2015, which is only concentrated in a few towns on 1800 MHz (band 3) and 2300 MHz in TD-LTE (band 30).

They have announced to shut off 3G services permanently in 2020. STC channels now its prepaid products mostly to the new brand of Jawwy (see below). As of 2019 5G is available in some places of Riyadh, Jeddah, Mecca, Medina and Damman.

Availability Edit

STC calls their prepaid plan SAWA and is available at any of their stores or any mobile phone shop. (store locator) for SR 31.5 (tax incl.) with SR 25 credit.

A SAWA SIM is valid for 90 days from activation date. Validity can be extended to 90 days for credit and to 360 days for SIM, using any paid services like (making calls, sending SMSs, credit recharging, subscribing to SAWA packages or services). In case of any paid activity for 90 days, the credit will be deducted. In case of any paid activity for 360 days, the service will be cancelled.

Recharge cards are available from SR 10 to SR 300 giving 5 to 300 days of service validity depending on amount. To top-up by voucher, enter *155*<voucher PIN>#. Or top-up online with an internatl. credit card.

Data feature packs Edit

Data by default is SR 2 per MB called Easynet. This can be activated by texting 2002 to 900 and deactivated b 2001 to 900.

These packages can be activated on the SAWA prepaid card:

Pack Data WiFi Soc. Med. Voice Time Price Activation
15 400 MB 400 mins 1 day SR 15 7015
Daily 200 MB 200 mins 1 day SR 10 8111
Sawa 1 GB 1 GB 200 mins 28 days SR 40 7030
Like 2 GB 2 GB 5 GB 500 mins 28 days SR 65 7065
Flex 8 GB 200 mins 28 days SR 90 7090
Share 5 GB 5 GB 10 GB unlimited 28 days SR 110 7110
Post 10 GB 10 GB unlimited unlimited 28 days SR 160 7160
Star 100 GB unlimited unlimited 28 days SR 220 7220

To activate a package, text code to 900. To all prices add 5% taxes. Social media includes YouTube, WhatsApp, Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Voice and SMS allowances are on-net only. All daily packages are once-off, all monthly packs auto-renew. To stop text 7009 to 900, to check balances text 8888 to 900. For more data you can add the QUICKnet bundles below as well by the relevant code.

Data-only SIM Edit

STC has also released a SIM with data only called QUICKnet. It's open to 5G as well.

You can activate these packages on QUICKnet:

Data Time Price Activation
10 GB 1 month SR 100 2721
10 GB 2 months SR 150 2729
10 GB 3 months SR 175 2722
50 GB 2 months SR 220 2723
100 GB 3 months SR 350 2727
300 GB 3 months SR 470 2728
unlimited 1 month SR 340 2726
500 GB 6 months SR 730 2731

Activation is by texting code to 900. Add 5% taxes. Check balance by *166#.

More information Edit

Jawwy Edit

Jawwy

STC has launched “Jawwy from STC" in 2016 with a new customer care model and completely new plans. A special Jawwy SIM is necessary to use the service, but customers will be able to keep their current numbers.

Jawwy app Edit

Everything is centered around the Jawwy app that allows to build, share and manage the plan in real time, instead of buying packages. The app offers a simple way for customers to activate services without calling customer support or visiting a store. Their app is available in both iOS and Android versions and in English too.

Availability Edit

You need to buy their SIM card first online to be delivered to Saudi-Arabia or offline in a special Click & Collect store (locator) and download their app. These starter packs are available:

  • 30 SR with 25 SR credit = minimum base plan with 1 FB and 100 mins for 1 month
  • 70 SR with 10 GB, 500 domestic minutes and unlimited WiFi for 1 month
  • 150 SR with 10 GB, unlimited apps and 1500 domestic minutes valid for 1 month

To all prices add 5% taxes. After downloading Jawwy App and registering using your log-in ID, if there is no chargeable activity for 90 consecutive days, SIM will be disconnected and the service will be canceled

For recharging you can use regular Sawa recharge vouchers from STC.

Data options Edit

Open the Jawwy app or your personal account online to customize your monthly recurring base plan of data and minutes by choosing from the following options for data. First you need to choose a base plan. You can up- and downsize the data plans anytime by app. To upsize, you will be charged the price difference.

All plans come with 100 all-net mins (more can be added), 3000 on-net mins and a data quota for 30 days:

  • 1 GB: 30 SR
  • 3 GB: 60 SR
  • 5 GB: 75 SR
  • 10 GB: 100 SR
  • 15 GB: 110 SR
  • 20 GB: 120 SR
  • 50 GB: 150 SR

More informationEdit

MobilyEdit

Mobily

Mobily, partly owned by Etisalat, is the 2nd provider in Saudi-Arabia. It still gives good coverage and speeds in populated areas. 4G/LTE is in city centers only: coverage check on 1800 in FD-LTE and 2600 MHz in TD-LTE.

Availability Edit

They have different prepaid cards for SR 30 with SR 25 credit without data in their stores: (store-locator).

For recharges, they give high free bonus: all the SR 10, 30, 50 and 100 are doubled in valued, but bonus credit is only valid for 1, 3 ,5 or 7 days respectively. A 5% tax is deducted at recharge.

Mobily has announced that prepaid SIM validity will now be based on activity rather than recharges only. This will apply to both new and existing subscribers. Prepaid customers should now use their package at least once within 90 days to sustain the SIM validity, whether for voice calls, SMS, internet, roaming or credit top-up. This gives greater flexibility to customers and avoid loss of their lines if not recharged.

Data feature packages Edit

Default data is SR 0.15 per MB. These packages valid for 28 days can be activated on the prepaid card:

Plan Data Soc. Med. Voice Price Activation Deactivation
30 1 GB 1 GB 100 mins SR 30 30 030
75 5 GB 5 GB 500 mins SR 75 75 075
150 15 GB unlimited 2250 mins SR 150 150 0150
220 100 GB unlimited unlimited SR 220 220 0220
360 unlimited unlimited unlimited SR 360 360 0360

To activate a package, text code to 1100. Social media includes YouTube, WhatsApp, Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Voice and SMS allowances are on-net only. All all packs auto-renew. To stop text code to 1100, to check balances text 4 to 1411. For more data you can add a data bundle:

Data Validity Price Activation Deactivation
150 MB 14 days SR 5 750 0750
500 MB 30 days SR 20 6090 6092
1 GB 30 days SR 30 6100 6102
2 GB 30 days SR 50 7200 7202
5 GB 30 days SR 75 7300 7302
15 GB 30 days SR 95 7050 7052
20 GB 30 days SR 135 6300 6302
30 GB 90 days SR 165 6070 6072
40 GB 90 days SR 220 8200 8202
50 GB 60 days SR 210 7090 7902
100 GB 30 days SR 160 7080 7802
150 GB 90 days SR 320 8080 8080
300 GB 90 days SR 450 300
600 GB 6 months SR 900 606

To subscribe, text code to 1100, to renew, text the same code, to unsubscribe, text deactivation code to 1100.

You can recharge by sending an SMS to 1100 include the following: <CustomerID><VoucherNumber>. Check data balance by *1411#

Data-only SIM Edit

For unlimited data only in routers intended for house use, Mobiliy sells SIM card plans called "eLife Connect". These can be filled by these packages:

  • 30 GB for 3 months: SR 175, activation: 6070
  • 40 GB for 3 months: SR 230, activation: 8200
  • 50 GB for 2 months: SR 220, activation: 7090
  • 150 GB for 3 months: SR 335, activation: 8080
  • 300 GB for 3 months: SR 450, activation: 30

To activate or re-subscribe text code to 1100.

Roaming offer Edit

Mobily offers cheap roaming rates to about 80 countries worldwide:

  • 500 MBfor 24 hours: SR 49, activation: Trip0
  • 2 GB for 3 days: SR 99, activation: Trip1
  • 7 GB for 7 days: SR 199, activation: Trip2
  • unlimited for 30 days: SR 349, activation: Trip4
  • 30 GB for 60 days: SR 599, activation: Trip5

For activation, text subcription code to 1100 or enter *1100# and choose package.

More info Edit

ZainEdit

Zain

Zain is the 3rd and smallest of the three mobile operators in Saudi-Arabia. Neverthess, it has still fair coverage in the populated areas in up to 4G/LTE, but can be very patchy elsewhere: make a coverage check. 4G is on 900, 1800 and 2100 MHz, all on FD-LTE, partly with three-band aggregation like in Jeddah. Zain offers the lowest rates in the Kingdom right now. Zain reportedly offers the fastest data speeds partially due to 3CA.

In 2019 5G has started in some city centers and is available for prepaid with a capable device (5G coverage map).

Availability Edit

Their prepaid plans are available at their stores: locator. They don't come with data. The only exception is the Shabab Prepaid starter that involves a combo plan (see below).

Like Mobily Zain has started allowing subscribers to enjoy automatic extension to the line validity upon any kind of usage. With the new feature, the balance of prepaid lines will be extended for a further 90 days when the customer recharges, conducts a call, browses the internet or sends a SMS.

Data feature packages Edit

Default data is 0.15 SR per MB.

For the Shabab Plan these options are available valid for 28 days

Plan Data Soc. Med. Voice Price Activation Deactivation
59 4 GB 5 GB 500 mins SR 59 S59 CS59
140 10 GB unlimited 1500 mins SR 140 S140 CS140
199 100 GB unlimited unlimited SR 199 S199 CS199

To activate a package, text code to 959. Social media includes YouTube, WhatsApp, Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Voice allowances are to all nets. All all packs auto-renew. To stop text code to 959, to check balances text 'BC' to 959.

For more data and all other prepaid plans too, you can add a data bundle:

Data Validity Price Activation Deactivation
50 MB 1 day SR 1.50 D50 CD50
200 MB 7 days SR 5 D200M CD200M
500 MB 7 days SR 12 D500 CD500
2 GB 30 days SR 29 D2G CD2G
5 GB 30 days SR 50 D5G CD5G
15 GB 30 days SR 95 10GBM C10GBM
10 GB 90 days SR 165 10GB C10GB
40 GB 60 days SR 220 20GB C20GB
75 GB 90 days SR 265 50GB C50GB
150 GB 90 days SR 320 100GB C100GB
300 GB 90 days SR 430 300GB C300GB

Activation is in Zain shop or by your online self service account by the relevant code to 959. All packages auto-renew. To stop send deactivation code to 959. To check data balance, text 'BC' to 959.

SPEED 4G Edit

For data only, Zain has released a data only SIM with very similar packs as mentioned above.

Tourist Plans Edit

As Saudi-Arabia is slowly opening up to tourism, Zain has introduced the first Visitor Packages. Two different starter packs are available:

  • Visitor 55: 2 GB, unlimited mins on-net, 30 mins to other domestic netwoks, SR 20 international credit for 28 days: SR 55.
  • Visitor 99: 4 GB, unlimited mins on-net, 60 mins to other domestic netwoks, SR 50 international credit for 28 days: SR 99.

You can extend or renew this pack by texting code V55 or V99 to 959 or add any local data package shown above.

Roaming offers Edit

They offer very cheap roaming rates in the GCC countries Kuwait, Bahrain, UAE and Oman

  • 3 days of unlimited data: 179 SR, activation: GCC3 to 959
  • 7 days of unlimited data: 349 SR, activation: GCC7 to 959
  • 15 days of unlimited data: 599 SR, activation: GCC15 to 959

Furthermore, they offer data roaming bundles to about 80 countries worldwide (list):

  • 2 GB for 3 days: 99 SR, activation: RD2 to 959
  • 7 GB for 7 days: 199 SR, activation: RD7 to 959
  • 10 GB for 30 days: 299 SR, activation: RD10 to 959

To check bundle balance, text RBC to 959.

Yaqoot Edit

Similar to Jawwy by SBS Zain has also launched an app-based plan which can be customized and is fully managed by their Yaqoot app. But this plan is only available online and needs to be delivered by courier to a local address. This is why it's not mentioned any further.

More infoEdit

Friendi mobile Edit

Friendi logo

Friendi mobile was the first MVNO in the Kingdom. It started in 2014 on the network of Zain in 2G, 3G and 4G/LTE (for coverage see above). It's mostly directed to expatriates.

Availability Edit

Their prepaid SIM starter pack is sold for SR 25 with SR 20 credit valid for 21 days, in their stores all over the country: store finder. It comes as a standard prepaid card or can be changed to a data SIM by dialling *113#.

Friendi has a 60 days recharge validity and gives you 200% bonus for recharges of SR 200 and more and 100% for SR 100 on the vocie SIM. Check balance by *102#.

Data feature packages Edit

On the standard voice & data SIM default rate is SR 0.15 per MB. You can activate these packages:

Data Validity Price
30 MB 1 day SR 1.99
100 MB 3 days SR 4.99
300 MB 7 days SR 8.99
750 MB 30 days SR 18.99
1.5 GB 30 days SR 28.50
3 GB 30 days SR 45
5 GB 30 days SR 60
8 GB 30 days SR 90
15 GB 30 days SR 95
10 GB 90 days SR 110
30 GB 90 days SR 189
75 GB 90 days SR 260
150 GB 90 days SR 320

Activation, data check and stop of auto-renew is by typing *108# <call>

Data-only SIM Edit

On the data-only SIM card, these monthly packages can be added:

  • 2 GB: SR 50
  • 3 GB: SR 70
  • 5 GB: SR 110

Activation, data check and stop of auto-renew is by typing *109# <call>

More info Edit

Virgin mobile Edit

Virgin mobile

In 2014 Virgin Mobile started its own brand in Saudi Arabia. It's directed to the urban youth and operates as a MVNO on the network of STC in 2G, 3G and 4G/LTE (for coverage and frequencies see above).

Availability Edit

The prepaid SIM starter pack is sold for SR 30 with SR 25 credit in their store: store finder. The starter pack comes with three SIM cards: one for voice and two for data. Start-up credit is valid for 21 days.

If your SIM is inactive for 60 days you will no longer be able to make outgoing calls or send texts from your phone. They will send you a message to remind you to top up your account to keep talking, texting and browsing. If your account is inactive for 90 days, you will no longer be able to receive calls or texts and your SIM will be deactivated. Check balance by *102#.

Data feature packages Edit

Data rate is SR 0.55 per MB going down to SR 0.10 per MB after you have used more than SR 30 You can add these packages for 30 days:

Data Voice SMS Price
300 MB 50 mins SR 15
1 GB 100 mins SR 30
2 GB 100 mins 200 SR 45
10 GB 500 mins 1000 SR 70
40 GB 500 mins 1000 SR 165

Activation of combo packs is by *108#. And they offer these data packages:

Data Validity Price
50 MB 1 day SR 3
500 MB 30 days SR 15
700 MB 30 days SR 21
1 GB 30 days SR 24
2 GB 30 days SR 45
4 GB 30 days SR 75
8 GB 30 days SR 90
10 GB 30 days SR 100
20 GB 30 days SR 120
40 GB 30 days SR 140
80 GB 30 days SR 170
100 GB 30 days SR 180

Activation is by typing *110#. All bundles auto-renew. To stop dial *100*3#.

More info Edit

Lebara mobile Edit

Lebara SA

In 2014, Lebara mobile, the leading ethno provider from the UK, started its first non-European MVNO in Saudi Arabia. It operates on the network of Mobily in 2G, 3G and now on 4G/LTE (see coverage above) and targets mainly migrant workers.

Availability Edit

The prepaid SIM starter pack ard recharge vouchers are sold in their stores: store finder.

For every recharge you get free data: For a top-up of SR 10 you'll get 50 MB, SR 20 - 200 MB, SR 50 - 500 MB and SR 100 - 1 GB free bonus data.

Data feature packages Edit

Default data rate is 0.15 SAR per MB. You can add these monthly packages called Mobile Net Savers:

Data Validity Price Activation
100 MB 7 days SR 5 *777*080#
300 MB 7 days SR 9 *777*200#
700 MB 30 days SR 19 *777*700#
1.5 GB 30 days SR 25 *777*1000#
3 GB 30 days SR 45 *777*2000#
7 GB 30 days SR 65 *777*5000#
10 GB 30 days SR 110 *777*10000#
20 GB 30 days SR 189 *777*20000#
50 GB 30 days SR 260 *777*50000#

You can buy as many Mobile Net Savers as you like as often as you like. Mobile Net Savers don't auto-renew on the expiry date or on exhaustion of the data allowance.

Data-only SIM Edit

Lebara also offers a data-only SIM without voice or text in these 4 options:

  • 1 GB for 30 days: SR 25
  • 2 GB for 30 days: SR 40
  • 3 GB for 45 days: SR 50
  • 10 GB for 120 days: SR 125

More info Edit

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