COMMUNICATIONS AND MEDIA
TELEPHONE AND FAX
The telephone network operated by the national telecommunication organization ETISALAT is superb: local calls are free and direct dialing is available to 150 countries. In 2006, a rival telecommunications company, Du, was launched offering competitive rates.
The international dial code for UAE is +971. Cheap rates for international direct calls apply from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. and all day on Fridays and public holidays. There is a complete list of rates at the back of each telephone directory. You do not need to use the emirate access code when dialing a local number in that emirate. In other words to ring a number in Dubai from Abu Dhabi you must use the 04 prefix. If you are dialing a number in Abu Dhabi from another location in that emirate you will not need to use a prefix.
Yellow page directories are available for each emirate (see also ‘http://www.emirates.net.ae’). These can be purchased at ETISALAT offices.
Pay phones, both card and coin operated, are located throughout the UAE. Phone cards for local use (Dh30 or Dh45) are usually available from ETISALAT offices, supermarkets, pharmacies etc. Coin operated phones take Dh1 and 50 fils.
LOCAL AND INTERNATIONAL AREA CODES:
Abu Dhabi 02 + 9712
Ajman 06 + 9716
Al Ain 03 + 9713
Dubai 04 + 9714
Fujairah 09 + 9719
Jebel Ali 04 + 9714
Khor Fakkan 09 + 9719
Rai al-Khaimah 07 + 9717
Sharjah 06 + 9716
Umm al-Qaiwain 06 + 9716
Sharjah, Ajman and Umm al-Qaiwain share the access code 06 and Fujairah and Khor Fakkan the access code 09
All hotels offer fax facilities. Faxes can also be sent from ETISALAT (‘http://www.etisalat.co.ae’) offices throughout the Emirates. The offices are
recognizable by the distinctive ‘golf balli’ structures on top of each building.
The main ETISALAT office in Abu Dhabi is on the corner of Zayed the Second and Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum St. It is open 24 hours a day. ETISALAT’s main office in Dubai is on the corner of Beniyas and Omar ibn Al Khatab roads. It is also open around the clock. In Sharjah the main office is located in Al Manakh, close to the dhow roundabout. Opening hours are Saturday to Wednesday 7 a.m.- 3 p.m., however you can send and receive fax and telex messages 24 hours a day.
Shops advertising typing and photocopying services often have fax facilities.
GSM services are available and the mobile phone code within the UAE is 050. “Speak Easy” is a GSM mobile service for those visitors and tourists who cannot use their own mobile phones in the UAE. You can either buy a new mobile phone and purchase a temporary SIM card or use your own handset with a temporary card. Contact ETISALAT for details.
Most five-star hotels offer guests internet access. Email cheap rates are from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. At the time of writing public internet access kiosks were being established in the UAE, initially at the major airports. The minimum charge for public access is Dh2 and 60 fils per minute. Payment can be made by credit card.
If you have brought your laptop with you, along with a modem and browsing software, you can dial 500 5333 to get connected to the internet. A charge of 15 fils per minute is billed to the telephone to which you are connected. For more details call 800 5244.
The General Postal Authority runs an efficient postal system with red post collection boxes dotted throughout the cities and towns. Mail is usually collected morning and evening. Stamps can be purchased and post mailed from your hotel. Express postal facilities are also available at post offices.
In general, post office opening hours are from 8 a.m.- 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. – 7 p.m. Saturday to Wednesday. Closed Thursdays and Fridays. 8 a.m. – 12 noon on Public Holidays, but closed on the first day of Eid holidays. Note that there are no telephone or fax facilities at post offices in the UAE and poste restante facilities are not available.
The main post office in Dubai is on Zaisabeel Road, Bur Dubai (8 a.m. – 11.30 p.m. Saturday to Wednesday, 8 a.m. – 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. – 8 p.m. Thursday and closed Fridays). There is also a smaller post office in Deira on Al Sabkha Road. Other post offices are located in Satwa, Karama and Jumeirah.
OPENING HOURS AND HOLIDAYS:
Normal shopping hours are from 9.00 a.m. – 1 p.m. and 4.00 – 9.00 p.m. however many shops, particularly in Dubai and Abu Dhabi stay open all day. Most shopping centres open from 10 a.m to 10 p.m – frequently later. Some supermarkets are open for 24 hours. Although shops and shopping centres are fully air conditioned, the cool of the evening is a favourite time for shopping. Shopping centres and most shops are open on Friday, the Islamic day of rest, but they all close for Juma (Friday) prayers from 11.30 a.m. to 1.30 p.m.
All shops are required to close at prayer times in Rai’s al-Khaimah.
Government offices open at 7.30 a.m. and close at 3.00 p.m. but you would be wise to visit in the morning. Private offices tend to keep longer hours, coming back to work in the evening after an extended mid-day break. Some private businesses open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. All government offices close for the weekend at mid-day on Thursday and do not open again until Saturday morning. Some offices outside the public sector are open on Thursday and close on Friday and Saturday.
Since Muslim festivals are timed according to local sightings of phases of the moon, the dates outlined below for Islamic religious holidays are approximate. The precise dates are not announced until a day or so before they occur. If a public holiday falls on a weekend, the holiday is usually taken at the beginning of the next working week.
A three-day mourning period is usually announced when a member of the ruling families or a government minister or the head of a neighbouring state dies. Government offices and some private companies will close for the period.
1 Jan New Year’s Day.
2 Dec National Day.
Al-Hijra (Islamic New Year).
Mouloud (Birth of the Prophet).
Leilat al-Meiraj (Ascension of the Prophet).
Eid al-Fitr (End of Ramadan).
Eid al-Adha (Feast of the Sacrifice).