Local SIM: Bahrain Edition (spoiler: CRAZY CHEAP DEAL)

sidebar: Bahrain visas if you can, it’s worth it to get an eVisa before arriving. i did and breezed through passport control. Jamison of Points Summary fame didn’t (for reasons i’m sure he’ll explain later in a blog post) and it took him half an hour for a visa on arrival.

when you exit to the arrivals hall at Bahrain International Airport, there are three cell phone stores to choose from. the first one we went to was Viva, but they wanted 2 BD ($5.30) for a SIM card and then 3 BD ($7.95) for data service. the second one we went to was Zain, and they only wanted 2 BD for the SIM with free service. HOLLA! the other provider was Batelco, right next door, but we didn’t check them out.

No, not THAT Zayn, silly.

and what a steal!


and yes, Danger is my middle name.

the deal

the SIM is universal and has snap-out micro and nano sizes. they only required a passport, no forms. activation was immediate. so easy! and look at that. unlimited data with a 2GB fair use policy (=the limit before they start to slow your speeds), 50 minutes of local phone calls, and 10 minutes of calls back to the US! each week is 1 BD, but the first week (=us!) is free! can you tell i’m really excited about this? it’s one of the best deals i’ve ever seen.


we got a slip of paper from the guy with what to dial, but he made a typo so here’s what you need to do:

  • to activate the card, insert it and dial *100*1#
  • then, to activate 4G/LTE, dial *100*4# and reply to the message you get with a “1” to turn 4G on. you will likely need to restart your phone to activate it. in our limited experience, LTE coverage is limited to the major cities. further out, like at the Tree of Life, you are more likely to only get 3G.
  • dial 107 for customer service; available in English as well.


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