Virgin Mobile UAE unveils new biodegradable SIM cards

Published on February 21, 2022

Virgin Mobile UAE, part of Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company (EITC), today announced that it is the first telecom brand in the UAE to introduce new biodegradable SIM cards.  The move is in line with the UAE’s vision to create a vibrant new green economy that will offer the world a unique model for sustainable development.

The new Virgin Mobile biodegradable sim cards are the most sustainable option available in the UAE for customers whose devices cannot yet accept eSIMs, which require no plastic at all. Virgin Mobile UAE will progressively phase out single-use plastic SIM cards as part of the company’s commitment to being sustainable and towards its mission of being carbon negative.

The new biodegradable SIM is made from an oxo-biodegradable plastic that breaks down into tiny pieces and slowly degrades in the presence of oxygen and UV light. When placed in a landfill, the degradation process can take a little as just 4-6 months. This offers a significant improvement when compared to the estimated hundreds of years normal plastics can take to decompose.

Rob Beswick, Managing Director for Virgin Mobile UAE commented, “Our move to introducing the new sustainable biodegradable SIM cards is aligned with supporting the vision of UAE’s Green Agenda 2030 and UAE’s NetZero 2050 initiative. We can “do more and better with less”, breaking the traditional linkages between economic growth and environmental degradation. This is outlined in the UN’s 12th Sustainable Development Goal (SDG12) which calls for us “to ensure Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP). We all need to work together to ensure a collective effort towards building a better future. Virgin Mobile UAE has achieved net-zero carbon emissions for its operations last year, and we are on a mission to become carbon negative.”

It is estimated that at least 14 million tons of plastic end up in the ocean every year, impactingfragile ecosystems. Despite its tiny size, each SIM card needs to be punched out of a credit-card sized plastic sheet, which is then disposed of, contributing to plastic waste in the telecommunications industry. With consumers demand for SIM cards, this waste is increasing.

“While we are moving towards the use of biodegradable SIM cards that decompose without a trace and it is a key step in the right direction, the move to eSIMs, whereby there is no physical sim card, remains the most sustainable option,” added Beswick.

Tor Malmros, CEO for Workz added “We’re delighted to have achieved yet another market-first with Virgin Mobile UAE. We are currently seeing a sharp rise in interest from network operators worldwide for more sustainable alternatives such as biodegradable SIMs and eSIM – this can only be a good thing. What this project with Virgin Mobile demonstrates is, that with a dynamic, forward-thinking approach, just how quick and significant the impact can be.”

Currently, Virgin Mobile UAE allows its customers to change their physical SIM to an eSIM using their App right from the comfort of their home or office. eSIMs are also available via Virgin Mobile’s unique home delivery service whereby new customers who have an eSIM compatible device, can opt to have their Virgin Mobile eSIM activated by downloading the Virgin Mobile app via the Play store or App store, choosing their favourite number or transferring their current one from any network.

To find out more about Virgin Mobile’s biodegradable SIM and eSIM, visit


About Virgin Mobile in the United Arab Emirates

Virgin Mobile believes in making mobile better across the industry with the best customer experience, innovative products and creating a great place to work.  Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company has launched Virgin Mobile as the first fully digitalized mobile service in the UAE, providing an experience that has never been seen before in the region.

Virgin Mobile is the second mobile brand to operate under the EITC umbrella, adhering to the rights and obligations of EITC’s telecommunication license while bringing a distinctly different offering and brand promise to the market.

About Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company PJSC (EITC)

The Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company (EITC) was founded in 2005 as the UAE’s second licensed telecommunications provider. EITC has two telecommunications brands under its umbrella; du was launched in 2007 and serves over 8 million customers throughout the UAE. EITC recently launched its second brand Virgin Mobile in the market.

EITC is 39.5 percent owned by Emirates Investment Authority, 19.75 percent by Mubadala Development Company PJSC, 19.5 percent by Emirates Communications and Technology LLC and the remaining by public shareholders. Listed on the Dubai Financial Market (DFM), the company trades under the name ‘du’.

About Workz

Workz is recognised as one of the global leaders in mobile subscriber solutions – enabling the secure deployment of smart devices and their data faster and easier than ever before. Since 1997, it has securely managed over 14 billion connections in more than 70 countries all without a single data breach. It is a European-owned company with headquarters in Dubai and offices across the world. As well as being certified by the ISO 14001 for Environmental Management, it is one of only five providers in the world to be accredited by the GSMA to manage the complete eSIM lifecycle across both the consumer and M2M markets. Workz is also the world’s largest manufacturer of telecom (SIM and prepaid) cards. 

Source: Zawya

Source: Press release

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