Keeping in touch in Abu Dhabi is quite easy, although relatively expensive compared to what some expats may be used to. Internet, telephone, mobile phone and post are available and service standards are quite good.
Two companies hold the monopoly over both telephone and internet services in the UAE, namely Etisalat (the national telecommunications company) and its primary rival on the market, Du.
Mobile telephones in Abu Dhabi
Mobile phones are the most common method of communication in the UAE. As both Etisalat and du offer similar services, the only comprehensive difference is in coverage by their respective networks. Expats are able to apply for mobile phone contracts, but pay-as-you-go services are most common.
Mobile phone coverage in the UAE is good, both nationally and internationally, and Etisalat and du both offer a variety of plans and services.
Internet connectivity in Abu Dhabi
Internet connectivity in the UAE is widespread and reliable. Etisalat and du offer a broad spectrum of internet options, with the UAE now having one of the highest rates of fibre-to-the-home connectivity in the world. Internet costs can be pricey, however.
Social networking and censorship in Abu Dhabi
Censorship is still common in Abu Dhabi, with numerous websites blocked in the emirate. Any material deemed to be offensive or inconsistent with the religious, political or moral values of the UAE is blocked. Pornographic, gambling and dating sites are also blocked. However, most of the main social networking sites, including Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, are accessible.
Voice- and video-calling features in apps, such as WhatsApp, Skype, FaceTime and Facebook Messenger, are disabled. This is to keep consumers reliant on paid internet-calling plans from Etisalat and du.
Postal and courier services in Abu Dhabi
Although traditional postal services are not very common nowadays, this service is very reliable in the UAE; postal services are used primarily for important documents sent by couriers. Couriers are usually on time, and the hassle is minimal.
Shipping packages or sending letters overseas is also easy. Mail can be sent to the home by arrangement but most people receive mail either at their work address or via PO Box. Couriers are used for important home deliveries, such as credit cards.
English-language media in Abu Dhabi
English-language media is readily available in the UAE. The National and Gulf News are English-language dailies that also have active websites. A number of other English magazines and newspapers are also readily available, including Aquarius, Time Out Abu Dhabi and Abu Dhabi World. There are also English radio and television stations.
Access to English-language television channels is quite good, including the Dubai-based Dubai One, as well as the BBC and Fox.
Are you an expat living in Abu Dhabi?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Abu Dhabi. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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