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BANGKOK 23 July 2019 18:00

Problem calling Dubai (UAE) from UK mobile

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Hello, today I have tried unsuccessfully calling several numbers in Dubai from my UK mobile, while here in Thailand. I do not seem able to get a connection. My phone is using the DTAC mobile network while I am in Thailand. 


I have checked with EE, my service provider, and there are no blocks or anything on my account. 


Is there any reason anyone can think of as to why i am having this problem. 


Thank you for any help. Perry 

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Can you successfully make international calls to other countries?


What international access code are you using, just + or 001 is pretty much guaranteed to work, then 971 for Dubai, drop the first zero from the Dubai number.



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Thank you. I think I have partially solved the problem. This is complicated and I dont understand completely the factors - but here is my experience, in case others have a similar problem. 


To address the question above I have successfully dialled US and UK. So the issue is specific to Dubai. And I have tried several numbers so the issue is unrelated to the specific numbers. It is a Dubai connection problem. I have also just tried calling an Australia number and could not get connected there either, so there appear to be various overseas countries I cannot connect to, but some I can. Why some and not others is the question. 


I have consulted a British friend who lives in Bangkok and has been doing a lot of work in Dubai. She has had numerous problems with Dubai calls over the years.


Essentially her view is the problem could be caused by a line capacity issue in the connection - the "pipes" are not wide enough for volume of traffic, so try another time. I have tried calling just now when Dubai has not yet started work, and UK is asleep (dont know if calls go via UK???), but to no avail. This could be the reason, but perhaps not. I do not understand how these overseas calls are routed, and thats not a subject I want to get into. 


The other possibility she raised is that my EE (my UK network provider) package does not cover calls from Thailand to UAE. I have tried unsuccessfully to check this online. I will call EE again to ask the question. This was not mentioned in my initial call to them, but perhaps the call centre person is not an expert on call roaming. Instinctively this feels like it could be the reason. But a quick search online indicates this call roaming stuff can get quite complicated pretty quickly so I gave up. Life is too short to become an expert on stuff like this. 


She went on to mention numerous problems with wifi calling with whatsapp, Skype (video enabled) etc which are wholly or partially blocked in UAE - that is a subject for another day. 


She also suggested using the full international exit dialling code - not just the default + key. Apparently the + key means you get defaulted to a low quality line connection. So for UK that would be 001 44 ...Well it seems that for Dubai there are different exit codes depending on the the network. I had no idea about this, quite a surprise. EE roams here in Thailand with DTAC and it appears the exit code with DTAC is 004. So I tried the Dubai number calling with + and separately with 004, and indeed with all of the other exit codes for all networks (001 004 005 006 007 008 009). All attempts failed. So the issue is not the wrong exit prefix, as far as I can tell. And in any event I tried numerous times with the + prefix which always works in my travel experience. In fact this is the first time in about 10 years when I have had to think about international call prefixes. 


So I am stumped. I am going today to buy a mobile and local SIM card which is something I should have done years ago. Hopefully that will work. 

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