Ready to travel to Saudi Arabia? I am happy and excited for you as Jeddah, Mecca and Medina are magical places to discover. Let me help you buying a local prepaid sim card for Saudi Arabia at Jeddah Airport or may be you fancy an e-sim card for your trip to Jeddah. Whether you go for Umrah, Hajj or as a tourists staying connected when traveling to Jeddah makes life much easier and you don't waste your money on high roaming charges.
This is a complete guide for buying a sim card at Jeddah Airport on arrival with up to date prices as per May 2023, where to buy a sim card, my recommendations, a vlog about my arrival and experiences and even information about international and e-sim cards for Saudi Arabia.
As part of my journey to visit every country in the world I get to a lot of different countries and airports and that is how I already wrote more than 200 local prepaid sim card guides for tourists in places like: Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Europe, Paris, Rome, London, Cairo, Istanbul, Ethiopia, Pakistan, Bahrain, Qatar, Jordan, Malaysia, etc.
Find on my blog also an extensive guide for the best prepaid sim card for Saudi Arabia in 2023 in case you missed buying one at Jeddah Airport. There are also sim card guides for those that are flying to Riyadh or Medina.
Why buying a Saudi Arabia sim card
Traveling with a working data connection on your phone is simply much more convenient. Think about getting directions from Google Maps, ordering a taxi through an app, staying in touch with friends and family back home. Don’t rely on WiFi as it might be slow or not working at all.
Also a reminder that surfing the web on public WiFi is through an UNSECURED connection. The use of a VPN is recommended in these cases.
Traveltomtom recommends buying an STC sim card for traveling in Saudi Arabia on arrival at Jeddah Airport. STC has great tourist sim card deals and the best 5G network in Saudi Arabia. For 86.25 SAR ($23 USD) you get 20 GB data and 500 minutes.
However, if you just need a little bit of data to use WhatsApp or for checking your email then an e-sim card for Saudi Arabia will be a great solution for you. It only takes 2 minutes to set it up and you already get 1 GB data for just $5 USD.
Traveltomtom does also recommend world travel sim cards with data and international coverage including Saudi Arabia. These international sim cards can be ordered online and will be shipped to your home address. Click on the link above for a complete comparison and review of the best global sim cards in 2023 and choose the one that fits your trip.
Best e-sim cards for Saudi Arabia
Even better and easier? Get yourself an e-sim card for Saudi Arabia, the easiest way to stay connected when traveling to Jeddah in 2023. No more visiting a shop or swapping a physical sim card. Just order a Saudi Arabia e-sim card online, receive a QR code, apply some settings and within just 2 minutes you are all set.
- 1 GB data for 7 days = $5 USD
- 2 GB data for 15 days = $8 USD
- 3 GB data for 30 days = $11 USD
- 5 GB data for 30 days = $15.5 USD
- 10 GB data for 30 days = $26 USD
Click here to order the above e-sim card deals for Saudi Arabia directly online or find more info.
The above e-sim cards from Red Sand are data-only and valid in Saudi only. They operate on the 4G/LTE/5G network of Zain. Yes, these e-sim cards for Saudi Arabia support 5G.
There are also international e-sim cards for Saudi Arabia. Although much more expensive these e-sim cards are valid in more than 120 countries:
- 6 GB data for 15 days = $39.90 USD
Click here to order this international e-sim card for Saudi Arabia.
With an e-sim card you keep your own phone number from home, but make sure your phone is e-sim card compatible before ordering an e-sim card for Saudi Arabia.
Where to buy a sim card at Jeddah Airport
As I mentioned before buying a sim card for Saudi Arabia at Jeddah Airport is super easy. It is impossible to miss the mobile internet operator shops. As soon as you walk out into the Arrival Hall at Jeddah International Airport you will see 3 kiosks all next to each other right in front of you: STC, Zain and Mobily, which are the 3 main mobile internet providers in Saudi Arabia.
In the following vlog you see more about my experiences arriving and buying a sim card at Jeddah International Airport.
Prices prepaid sim cards Jeddah Airport in 2023
Great thing about tourists sim cards in Saudi Arabia is that they offer the same prepaid sim cards at international airports as in official retail stores in the malls in the city center.
As of May 2023: $1 USD = 3.75 SAR and 1 SAR = $0.27 USD.
Zain prepaid sim card
The Zain guy was a bit weird in willing to show me all the available prepaid sim card packages and he wasn’t particularly helpful, probably a bad day at the office. But here are the prepaid sim card plans for Zain in 2023:
- 3 GB data + 1 GB Snapchat, WhatsApp & Facebook + 50 minutes valid for 2 weeks = 34.5 SAR
- 15 GB data valid for 2 weeks = 57.5 SAR
- 10 GB data + 5 GB Snapchat, WhatsApp & Facebook + 150 minutes valid for 4 weeks = 80.5 SAR - 21.45 USD
- 25 GB data + unlimited Snapchat, WhatsApp & Facebook + 350 minutes valid for 4 weeks = 149.5 SAR
Mobily prepaid sim card
At the Mobily kiosk they tried selling me the sim card deal for 110 SAR, but they also have a cheaper option available. Not all prepaid sim card deals are displayed at Jeddah International Airport so you have to ask for the cheaper plans in particular if you want to buy a Mobily prepaid sim card:
- 5 GB data + 5 GB social media + 600 minutes = 75 SAR - $20 USD
- 10 GB data + 15 GB Social Media + 1,500 minutes = 110 SAR
- 20 GB data + unlimited Social Media + 3,000 minutes = 150 SAR
- 50 GB data + unlimited Social Media + calls = 180 SAR - $48 USD
- 100 GB data + unlimited Social Media + calls = 220 SAR
- Unlimited data + calls = 360 SAR
All Mobily prepaid sim card plans are valid for 4 weeks.
STC prepaid sim card
Unfortunately STC neither displays their prepaid sim card packages at Jeddah International Airport, but I have them here for you:
- 1 GB data + 1 GB Social Media + 60 minutes = 40.25 SAR
- 4 GB data + 4 GB Social Media + 120 minutes = 74.75 SAR - $19.9 USD
- 10 GB data + 10 GB Social Media + 500 minutes = 86.25 SAR
- 10 GB data + 15 GB Social Media + 300 minutes = 115 SAR
- 25 GB data + 25 GB Social Media + 500 minutes = 132.25 SAR - $35.2 USD
- 70 GB data + unlimited Social Media + 800 minutes = 195.5 SAR
- 100 GB data + unlimited Social Media + unlimited calls = 276 SAR
STC Saudi Arabia has many more packages with more data, but of course also more expensive.
Best Saudi Arabia sim card at Jeddah Airport
Based on the above prices we come to the conclusion that Mobily sim card are slightly more expensive and that a Zain sim card is the cheapest prepaid sim card at Jeddah International Airport for 34.5 SAR - $9.2 USD.
The cheapest way to get connected when traveling to Jeddah though is an e-sim card for Saudi as prices start from $5 USD and you get 1 GB data.
However, the STC prepaid sim card plans offer the best value for money when looking at the data packages for 10 - 20 GB. On top of that STC also has the best 4G/5G network in Saudi Arabia. So for traveling in Saudi Arabia STC is the best sim card at Jeddah Airport in 2023.
For more info about the 4G/5G network coverage in Saudi Arabia, including network coverage maps across the country check out my extensive article about the best sim card for Saudi Arabia in 2023.
For more info on the mobile internet network coverage including 4G/5G coverage maps check out my article for buying a sim card in Saudi Arabia.
Ordering a sim card for Saudi Arabia online
If buying a sim card at Jeddah Airport sounds like too much hassle then you can make it easy for yourself by ordering a sim card for Saudi Arabia online and get it shipped to your home address before your trip to Jeddah. Check out the following Saudi Arabia sim card deals:
- True Move = 6 GB data for 15 days —> $39.90
- Orange = 10 GB data for 14 days —> $49.90
Click here to directly order an international prepaid sim card for Saudi Arabia.
Calls and sms are not included in the above sim card deals. These sim cards are pre-activated and automatically activated from their first use. It is simply plug and play.
Also another reminder that you can also arrange everything directly online by ordering an e-sim card for Saudi Arabia and get connected starting from $5 USD.
My experience buying a sim card at Jeddah Airport
In my vlog you have probably already seen how easy it is to get a local prepaid sim card for Saudi Arabia. Walking out of the terminal and walking directly into the mobile internet stores made it super easy. A couple minutes after I put my new STC Saudi Arabia sim card in my phone I was online. You get a welcome message displaying your mobile number.
What I found very convenient is that STC would regularly send me text messages with a link to check my remaining balance. Although the message is in Arabic, you only have to click on the link in the message and it takes you to your profile on the STC website without the need to login with a password.
During my almost 2 weeks traveling in Saudi Arabia I had a 5G connection pretty much everywhere. During the high speed train ride from Jeddah to Medina there was mostly a phone signal. However sometimes it was 3G or 4G. Still pretty impressive phone reception though in the middle of the desert.
I hope all the above tips for buying a sim card for Saudi Arabia at Jeddah Airport were helpful. Please leave me a comment if you still have questions and I will try to help you out.
Looking for some Saudi Arabia travel inspiration and tips? Go check out my Instagram account @traveltomtom and follow my road to visit every country in the world. On my YouTube channel you will also find a video about how to travel by high speed train from Jeddah to Medina. As of May 2023 I have visited more than 155 countries around the world.
Enjoy your trip to Jeddah!
Some links in this article about the best ways to stay connected when traveling to Jeddah are affiliate links. If you buy any of the products after using an affiliate link in this article I earn a small commission. This is at no extra cost to you of course!