Residents can now use their mobile phones abroad without paying a Dh2,000 deposit for roaming.
The telecommunications company Etisalat has scrapped the refundable charge, previously imposed on all expatriates wanting to use their contract phones outside the UAE.
The charge was intended to prevent people running up very large bills that they did not have the means to pay – easily done, especially with a smartphone.
Web browsing overseas can cost as much as a dirham for 30 kilobytes – barely enough for even a short, text-only email.
Trying to download music or stream video is a sure-fire path to bills in the many thousands of dirhams.
Etisalat sells “bundles” of roaming data at Dh95 for one day and 100 megabytes (MB), of Dh395 for a week and 200MB.
By default, users will have a “soft cap”, limiting a bill for non-bundled data to Dh1,000.
Users will get a text at Dh10 and Dh500 to alert them to the charges.
They can opt instead to have a “hard cap”, preventing them from using non-bundled roaming data altogether.
“We hope this service will ensure ease of travel for our customers,” said Khaled El Khouly, chief marketing officer at Etisalat.
“The business environment is changing and so are the needs of subscribers.”