Best prepaid international SIM card for Qatar | finder.com

Traveling to Qatar? Check out our guide to finding the best prepaid SIM card

Reduce your rates by using a local SIM.

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Qatar is one of the wealthier Arab nations, close to Saudi Arabia and Dubai. Using your home phone network there can be expensive, so consider switching over to a local SIM card to take advantage of better deals and plans. Qatar has some of the best prepaid SIM cards in the Middle East, with deals that could reduce your bills. You can buy 1GB of data from Qatar’s leading telco provider for QAR20 (less than US$5.50). So, whether you’re planning a short trip, longer stay or tour of the Arab nations, check out the best SIM card options on finder.com.

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Prices last updated 25 Sep 2017

Telco providers in Qatar

There are two main operators in Qatar: Ooredoo and Vodafone. Both operators go through a strict approval process before being allowed to operate, and each competes with the other to offer the best deals. Their services have all been tried and tested by both locals and travelers, so they can be trusted. According to OpenSignal’s connectivity report, Ooredoo has the better network coverage and speeds, but it has higher prices.

About Qatar’s operators

Qatar’s operators offer good roaming rates and sell prepaid credit, which allows users to take advantage of their cheap local offers and deals. Both providers offer customers 2G, 3G and 4G services. Locals call their SIM cards “SIMs” or “chips”. You can buy a SIM card by showing your passport, and your telephone number is already active when you purchase it. To add credit, there are several prepaid card machines around various towns and cities, and vouchers are stocked in stores and supermarkets. Please note that as in most Arab states, there are restrictions and censorship on online-based content. Many websites are banned, and you must watch what you write on social media while you’re in the country. The local authorities monitor the Internet within the state. We advise you to download a VPN onto your phone before you travel to allow you full access to the Internet in Qatar.

Below, we have broken down each telco provider to highlight exactly what’s available during your visit to Qatar.

Ooredoo

Ooredoo is the largest provider in Qatar. The company is state-owned and offers several roaming deals for traveling across the Middle East. It offers customers 2G, 3G and 4G/LTE services on a GSM platform. Network coverage is the best and Internet speeds are the fastest. Prepaid SIM cards can only be purchased and registered at official stores situated in all malls and at Doha International Airport. Credit can be purchased from almost anywhere across the country, including supermarkets, corner stores and service stations.

Ooredoo’s prepaid SIM card packages are called “Hala” and can be purchased for QAR25, which includes 250 local minutes and 250MB data, valid for 7 days.

Credit can be added in the following denominations: QAR10, QAR15, QAR20, QAR25, QAR30, QAR50, QAR75, QAR100, QAR125, QAR150, QAR175, QAR200, QAR250, QAR300, QAR400, QAR450 and QAR500, giving validity of between 30 and 360 days, depending on how much you upload. Dial *129# to check your balance.

The standard data rate is charged at QAR0.99 per MB. The following “Mobile Internet” data packs are also available:

ValidityDataPriceActivation
24 hours150MBQAR3DD
24 hours1GBQAR20Flexi
7 days1GBQAR20DW
7 days“Unlimited”QAR125UN

Text the relevant code in the right-hand column to 121 to activate. All of the above-mentioned packs auto-renew, so text “STOP MIP” to 121 if you wish to cancel.

The following data amounts can be added to any prepaid SIM card, either online, by purchasing vouchers or through the app:

100MBQAR10
250MBQAR20
500MBQAR30
1GBQAR60
3GBQAR80
6GBQAR100
15GBQAR200

Ooredoo also operates in many other Arab nations and has roaming deals with a number of providers around the world. If you plan on traveling around the Middle East, then Ooredoo’s roaming deals are the best. Prepaid SIM cards can be purchased for QAR100, which includes 100 minutes of incoming and outgoing call time, 1GB of data (2GB in GCC countries), valid for 7 days. Text “OP” to 121 to activate. Text “Balance OP” to 121 to check your balance.

Ooredoo’s APN: data, and website: www.ooredoo.qa

Vodafone

Vodafone is the only other provider in Qatar. It offers the best rates and packages, but its coverage can suffer in remote regions. If you plan on staying in Doha, then we recommend you purchase this SIM card; otherwise stick with Ooredoo. Prepaid SIM cards can only be purchased from official stores, and they must be registered by using your passport before they can be activated.

Prepaid SIM cards can be purchased for QAR25, which comes with credit eligibility for local minutes and SMS only. Additional packages will have to be added to use further voice and data allocation.

Credit can be purchased in the following denominations: QAR20, QAR35, QAR100, QAR150, QAR350 or QAR500, giving 60 to 365 days of validity depending on how much you upload. Dial *100# to check your balance.

The standard data rate is charged at QAR0.99 per MB.

Data packagePriceValidityVolumeActivation
Data for 1 hourQAR31 hour1GB*200*1#
Daily Pack 1QAR11 day10MB*200*302#
Daily Pack 5QAR51 day300MB*200*500#
Weekly Pack 6QAR67 days75MB*200*306#
Weekly Pack 10QAR107 days150MB*200*710#
Weekly Pack 20QAR207 days1GB*200*720#
Weekly Pack 125QAR1257 daysUnlimited*200*125#
Internet Pack 30QAR3015 days500MBOnline/store
Internet 60QAR6030 days5GBOnline/store
Internet 80QAR8030 days7GBOnline/store
Internet 100QAR10030 days9GBOnline/store
Internet 200QAR20042 days20GBOnline/store

Data is charged at QAR0.99 per MB once all of the above-mentioned data have been used.

This telco also offers “Vodafone Flex” prepaid SIM cards, which allow users to switch and change their voice and data units. Dial *200*771# to activate one of the below packs, and dial *100# to deactivate. Each of the following is valid for 30 days:

  • top-up QAR60: 5GB data + 60 Flex points
  • top-up QAR80: 7GB data + 60 Flex points
  • top-up QAR100: 9GB data + 150 Flex points
  • top-up QAR200: 20GB data + 500 Flex points

Dial *130# to check your balance.

Vodafone also offers a roaming pack that can be purchased for QAR100 and will give you 1GB of data to be used in more than 75 countries, and 2GB of data to be used in Gulf Cooperation countries (GCC): Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman. Check the full list of participating countries upon purchase because they can change from time to time. Dial *200*100# to activate.

Vodafone’s APN: web.vodafone.com.qa, and website: www.vodafone.qa

Some top tips from finder.com staff:

  • The official language in Qatar is Arabic. If you don’t know the language, then download Google Translate onto your phone before you travel. English is a second language for most residents.
  • Qataris call a SIM card a “SIM” or “chip”.
  • Ask the sellers to set up the SIM for you, because they will know how to do it. If not, follow the instructions we have highlighted above or go to the official operator website to get advice.
  • Remember, it’s always better to get things done early, before the stores get too busy. That way you are more likely to receive better assistance and avoid the crowds!

TripAdvisor tips for the best SIM cards and where to buy them

While it’s well known for reviews, booking hotels, flights and vacations, TripAdvisor also has many user comments that can help guide you through what SIM cards have been tried and tested in Qatar.

Here are some top tips from TripAdvisor users:

I suggest bringing the device with you to the store so you can make sure it works before you leave. You’ll also need your passport or RP to purchase a SIM card. Alternately, if you have a smartphone that allows tethering, and you will only be in Qatar for a short time, it may be cheaper to get a mobile phone data package and use your phone like a MiFi device.

Make sure that your phone can be used in Qatar. When I first arrived in Doha, I wasn’t able to use my Samsung phone ’cause apparently it was locked or something. I had a prepaid SIM card from Qatar, but wasn’t able to make any calls …

I suggest you buy a local SIM card in Qatar. At the airport, when you collect your bags and come out, there is a glass wall you can see on other side (to the left) and there is a Ooredoo kiosk there, just show them your passport and they will issue you SIM card.

Pros and cons of Qatar’s top telco providers

All networks require you to have a SIM-unlocked, GSM-compatible international phone. To double check you have this phone, or whether it’s possible to unlock your device, contact your provider before you leave.

Pros:

  • Good value for money
  • Qatar has good coverage
  • Prepaid credit when required
  • No in-store contract needed
  • Could be compatible with your current phone
  • Cheap handsets are sold in stores

Cons:

  • No devices offered with the SIM card packages
  • Can only be used on SIM-unlocked GSM phones
  • Censorship can make surfing the Internet difficult
  • Tough rules and regulations complicate buying a SIM card

More questions about finding the best SIM?

Q: Can Qatar SIM cards be used throughout the Middle East region?

A: Qatar SIM cards can be used in other Middle Eastern countries, subject to additional roaming charges, but that defeats the object of purchasing a local SIM card to avoid using your home phone network abroad. We advise you to only use the SIM card in Qatar to reap the full benefits of what it can offer. If you plan on traveling around the Arab nations, it would be better to purchase a SIM card from each country to cut costs. Ooredoo offers some great roaming packs for short-term travel, but buy a new one if you intend on staying somewhere else long-term.

Q: Is the signal really that bad in the remote regions?

A: All networks will suffer in the desert, no matter what provider you use. Qatari networks offer a relatively reliable service that is no worse than what you would get from your home phone provider, so it makes sense to opt for a local SIM card because the rates are ridiculously cheap.

Q: What shall I do if I lose my phone?

A: Your phone is your lifeline, especially when traveling around the Middle East. Make sure you keep it safe and always make a note of where it is. The importance of having a direct link to family and friends via social media or through phone services can never be underestimated! If you do lose your phone, then retrace your steps and ask around. If you don’t have any luck, then report it missing. Finally, find a cheap replacement to keep in touch with the outside world, and don’t let this one out of your sight!

Switch to a cell phone plan with international calling

Name Product Data Minutes Texts Can I bring my own phone? Cell phone plans starting at:
From 2 GB
Unlimited
Unlimited
Yes
$30
30-day phone plans that allow you to cancel your service at anytime. Choose from five different talk, text and data options with the choice to add international calling for $10/month.
From 500 MB
200 minutes
500 texts
Yes
$0
Bring your own phone for a free plan with 500MB of data, 200 minutes and 500 texts per month using Sprint's CDMA Network. Prepaid plans with more data, talk and text start at $9.99/month.
From 1 GB
Unlimited
Unlimited
Yes
$20
30-day plans with unlimited talk and text and the option to choose how much data is right for you. Add-on rollover data is available starting at $5/500MB.
From 3 GB
Unlimited
Unlimited
Yes
$35
Choose from several different plan options with no contracts, no fees and coverage on the same networks as AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon.
From 3 GB
150 minutes
Unlimited
Yes
$10
Available in 30 countries across the Caribbean, Central America and Asia Pacific — choose from a 1-, 3-, 10- or 30-day plan with unlimited data.

Compare up to 4 providers

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9 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    JohnMarch 18, 2019

    Hi
    My wife will most likely be travelling to work in Doha next July/August. I will hopefully join her 6-8 weeks later. She is a Vodafone bill pay customer here in Ireland. Does she still need to buy a SIM card at the airport to get calls/texts/internet even though she’s an existing Vodafone customer? Perhaps she can just roam without buying Sim etc but this would be expensive? She has an iPhone SE.

    When I travel out to Doha Sept/Oct I intend to get sim and credit. Is Ooredoo only at the airport or can one buy Vodafone Sim etc at that location?
    Please advise.
    Thank you

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JoshuaMarch 18, 2019Staff

      Hi John,

      Thanks for getting in touch with Finder. I hope all is well with you. 😃

      The Vodafone in Ireland is different from the Vodafone in Doha. For this reason, you would still need to buy a local SIM when you arrive at the airport. Yes, your wife can still use roaming, but this will be more expensive than using a local SIM.

      Moreover, please note that you should be using an unlocked phone. Sometimes, phones can be locked with your current provider.

      You can buy both Ooredoo and Vodafone SIM cards upon arrival at the airport. There are also kiosks around the airport that you can find around the area.

      I hope this helps. Should you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach us out again.

      Have a wonderful day!

      Cheers,
      Joshua

  2. Default Gravatar
    SabaOctober 8, 2018

    Good day, I am traveling Doha next month as my current organization has transferred me there. First of all which cellular company has wide and strong network. Currently i am using 18 GB data and 900 flexible minutes all over the world in my package for a month. Kindly advise,

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JoshuaOctober 13, 2018Staff

      Hi Saba,

      Thanks for getting in touch with finder. I hope all is well with you. :)

      Generally, if you want to save on your phone usage, you would need to switch to using a local SIM especially if you are going to stay in Doha for a long time. There are two competing operators in Qatar: Vodafone and Ooredoo. Both are reliable with a strong and wide network. It would depend on you which telco you will be choosing. It would be helpful if you would check their packages as well to make a better choice. Ask your friends in Qatar and see if they can suggest an operator that will suit your needs.

      I hope this helps. Should you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach us out again.

      Have a wonderful day!

      Cheers,
      Joshua

  3. Default Gravatar
    RakeshSeptember 21, 2018

    Hi, I’m coming to Qatar next month for search a job. There for i have to buy a SIM card with internet. I’ll be there for at least one month. Plz guide me that which company provides good network with internet facility and how much is the price. Thank you so much

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      nikkiangcoSeptember 22, 2018Staff

      Hi Rakesh!

      Thanks for your inquiry and for visiting finder.

      It’s great to hear that you’ll be traveling to Qatar soon for employment.

      The best sim card for you will depend on your personal usage and the locations you’ll be in when you reach Qatar. Of course, you must get a sim card that will fit your budget and one that will have the strongest signal. The information above shows the recommended list of telcos for Qatar.

      Also, we suggest purchasing the sim card when you get to the airport and ask the salesperson of any prepaid plan they have that fits your needs.
      Should you have further questions, feel free to message us again.

      Happy trip,
      Nikki

  4. Default Gravatar
    mohdSeptember 13, 2018

    Dear,
    I am using qatar simcard no.00974 55833815
    Now a days I am in Neapal but the network is not showing please guide to me
    thanks

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      CharisseSeptember 13, 2018Staff

      Hi Mohd Salam Halwai,

      Thanks for reaching out to finder.

      In order for you to use your Qatar sim card in Nepal, you have to activate your roaming services. You can check your phone if it has an option for you to turn on your roaming service. If it doesn’t have any option or if you already turned it on and it still doesn’t work, you need to contact your Qatar service provider so they can assist you with roaming service activation process.

      I hope this helps.

      Cheers,
      Charisse

  5. Avatarfinder Customer Care
    MaiMarch 18, 2019Staff

    Hi Mohamed,

    Thank you for visiting Finder.

    There are no specifics if there are limit on the number of SIM that you can have under your name, especially if you are pertaining to prepaid SIM. You may want to check with the mobile provider to see if they set limits as to the number of SIM you can have under your name.

    Although having too many SIM cards may have a disadvantage as your friends and family may be confused where to contact you.

    Hope this helps.

    ​Please feel free to contact us back should you require further assistance.

    Kind Regards,
    Mai

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