How to avoid Etisalat huge charges on data if you don’t have a data plan in Dubai

News flash: Etisalat – one of the main telecom providers in Dubai – charge AED20 per MB that you use if you are not on a data plan with them. That is, seriously, one of the most expensive data charges around, and there is nothing you can do about it. This is valid news as of November 2016. Says on on their website and on my phone bill!

I discovered this by accident. My android phone (Galaxy Note 4) kept crashing, so I had to factory reset it. On reset, and signing into my Google account, it automatically rebuilt all the Google apps and info thus going through about 38mb of data in about 2 minutes. Result? Approx 38 x 20AED =   560AED!!

No warning, no asking for data usage permission. You, if you are arriving new in town have an option. Look at other telecom providers like du, perhaps?

Now just in case you are re-setting your handset (regardless of android or iOS) – and you are sadly like me on Etisalat – here’s the trick.

  1. Before you factory re-set – remove your SIM card from Etisalat from your phone. Keep it handy, but ensure it is not connecting your phone to Etisalat in any way.
  2.  At this point, when you re start your phone, make sure wi fi is enabled and data is off. Well, data cannot be on, if your chip is not in the slot, anyways.
  3. I am an android user (am sure same would happen for iOS), but go through all the downloads etc via wi-fi until you can access the top window shade on your phone and make sure ‘Data Usage ‘ is OFF. Only then would you want to open up your phone and insert the data chip. If you don’t do this, you will face a data download bill from between 35mb to 100mb in the first few minutes. Etisalat charges 20AED  per MB you “accidentally” download ($5.45 per mb).
  4. This is one of the biggest telecom rip offs ever. Avoid it.

There may be other ways around this. I don’t know, but the trick is making sure there is NO DATA DOWNLOAD option open. Otherwise Etisalat will simply charge you a lot of money. Because, anywhere, any time, $6 per MB would be way over the top. But Etisalat gets away with it.