Those new to the UAE may find the lack of choice between telecom operators and the high internet prices unusual. Domestic broadband internet in the UAE is among the most expensive in the Arabian Gulf and the country ranks only 55th worldwide for broadband affordability. This is likely because providers Etisalat and du compete for mobile-phone customers, but not for fixed-line internet users. Most areas are locked in with a single provider, so you cannot choose between the two.
There are still plenty of options to choose from when it comes to the mobile and internet packages themselves. Before you make a choice, you need to decide what your budget is, how much data you will use per month, and how important flexibility is for you.
Both Du and Etisalat offer a number of packages with various access speeds and types, including ISDN, ADSL, Wifi connection, prepaid internet, cable etc. It is also possible to get a joint cable TV and broadband package. The options can quickly become overwhelming.
One way to narrow your options is to be strict with yourself. If you don’t want something, and don’t need it, don’t get it.
Landlines may soon be a thing of the past with mobile phones completely dominating the market, but they are a part of the all-in-one packages. A possible benefit of landlines is that all local calls made from one landline to another are not charged.
Also think hard about how much and what kind of television you’re really likely to be watching. 500 channels is great, but how many are you really going to watch? With the advent of streaming sites like Netflix, fewer and fewer people are watching regular television.
How much speed do you need? The various e-Life deals offered by Etisalat, for example, come with different maximum download speeds, but the costs escalate as the download speed goes higher. Do you really need a 500Mbps download speed?
In practice, around 30Mbps is perfectly adequate for streamed content, but bear in mind that download speeds don’t always match what was being advertised, so to be sure, you could opt for 50Mbs to have a safety margin.
Remember you can always add and upgrade in the future. It’s easier to add than to subtract.
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