Are you planning your trip to Qatar and wondering what is the best way to stay connected? Don’t get stuck with high roaming costs when traveling to Qatar and definitely don’t trust slow overseas data roaming packages from your provider at home, especially during this big event.
In this guide you find everything you need to know about buying a prepaid sim card for Qatar. Find out where to buy a prepaid sim card on arrival, up to date prices as per May 2023, the best 4G/5G network in Qatar, info about e-sim cards for Qatar, buying a sim card at Doha International Airport, my recommendations and even info about international sim cards for Qatar.
The first thing I do when I get to a new country is buying a local prepaid sim card. It is mostly the cheapest way to stay connected and get big data packages. However, sometimes it is easier to simply get an e-sim card online. More about that later.
For the last 10 years I am a full time nomadic world traveler trying to visit every country in the world (150+ countries now) and therefore on Traveltomtom you can already find more than 200 prepaid sim card guides from all over the world: Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Turkey, USA, Mexico, Spain, France, Germany, Europe, United Kingdom, Brazil, Argentina, Saudi Arabia and cities like New York, London, Istanbul, Hong Kong, Paris and many more.
Next time you are planning your adventure abroad come check out Traveltomtom for the latest prepaid sim card advice for your holiday destination. Bookmark this website!
Traveltomtom recommends buying an Ooredoo sim card at Doha International Airport on arrival. Ooredoo has the strongest 4G/5G network in Qatar and the fastest data speed.
Ooredoo was the Official Global Connectivity Services Provider for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022. They did an amazing job keeping everyone connected during the event and even in stadium were so many people were together in one place I could still upload on great 5G speed.
Buying a prepaid sim card in Qatar on arrival is easy but if you want to arrive prepared in Qatar then I advice you to buy a travel sim card with data for Qatar. Check out my comparison of the best international sim cards for traveling in 2023 and pick the one that suits your trip the best.
These pre-activated global sim cards will be shipped to your home address before your trip.
However, the easiest way to stay connected when traveling to Qatar is an e-sim card.
E-sim cards for Qatar
Arrange everything online within just a couple minutes: right here, right now! No more swapping sim cards or buying a physical sim card from a store, an e-sim card makes it possible.
Order your Qatar e-sim card online, receive a unique QR code in your email, scan de code with your mobile phone and follow the instructions. In less than 2 minutes you activated a data package valid in Qatar. Check out the following e-sim card deals for Qatar:
- 1 GB data for 7 days = $5 USD
- 2 GB data for 15 days = $9 USD
- 3 GB data for 30 days = $12 USD
- 5 GB data for 30 days = $17.50 USD
- 10 GB data for 30 days = $30 USD
- 20 GB data for 30 days = $49 USD
Click here to directly order the above Qatar e-sim card deals online or find more info.
The above Qatar e-sim cards are from Pearl Mobile, a third party MVNO that operates on the Vodafone network. It is not possible to order an e-sim card directly through one of the mobile operators in Qatar unfortunately.
On another website I found more Qatar e-sim card deals. These sim e-sim cards are international e-sim cards valid in more than 120 countries including Qatar. Turns out this is actually the best buy when it comes to Qatar e-sim cards:
- 6 GB data for 10 days = $17.90 USD
Click here to order the above e-sim card for Qatar directly online.
Why buying a sim card for Qatar
Traveltomtom recommends staying connected while traveling to Qatar and getting either a local prepaid sim card, international sim card or an e-sim card for Qatar. Read below why…
Is there free public WiFi in Qatar?
Qatar is very advanced when it comes to free WiFi. There is free WiFi in every shopping mall, hotel, restaurant, etc. But in fan zones, stadiums or other public gatherings? With so many people trying to connect at the same time to a public WiFi network, the data connection could be very slow, not stable or not working at all. Also keep in mind that surfing the internet on public WiFi is through an UNSECURED network. The use of a VPN in these situations is recommended for security reasons.
Overseas roaming plans
I am sure your provider from home offers you to use your own sim card in Qatar by activating a data roaming package for a set fee per day. Often they promise you even unlimited internet per day, but did you read the fine-print? Unlimited internet at which speed? There is a very extensive 5G network in Qatar, but with a data roaming package from your home provider you won’t be able to connect to 5G in Qatar.
In fact you are a visitor on someone’s network, meaning you will be last in line! Data speed for data roaming packages on your own prepaid sim card from home will be significantly lower than local prepaid sim cards or e-sim cards.
Be aware that without being connected to the internet traveling in Qatar gets much more complicated. You need a data connection to order a taxi through an app, to get directions or look up things, use a translator app, check the live scores or what about emergencies, check the payments with your phone, etc. Reasons enough to make sure you stay connected when visiting Qatar.
Mobile Internet Operators in Qatar
Qatar is a very small country and there are just 2 mobile internet providers in Qatar: Ooredoo and Vodafone. Both of them have an extensive 4G/5G network and offer prepaid sim cards for tourists.
Where to buy a prepaid sim card in Qatar
Buying a prepaid sim card on arrival in Qatar gives you a little more value for money than international or e-sim cards for Qatar. So here is where you can get a sim card with data when you decide to buy one in Qatar.
Doha International Airport - DOH
Thee best place to buy a sim card for Qatar is on arrival at Doha Airport. There are multiple opportunities to get your Qatar sim card in the arrival hall.
You will find a Vodafone store all the way on the left side when you walk into the arrival hall.
The Ooredoo store on your right hand side when walking into the arrival hall.
It is the most convenient and fastest place to buy a Qatar prepaid sim card. If you walk into the arrival hall you will already see staff walking around guiding you if you want to buy a sim card.
Here are the prices and prepaid sim card plans they offer for tourists at Doha Airport
As you can see there is a wide array of prepaid sim cards for tourists available and prices are cheaper than e-sim cards and international sim cards for Qatar.
There is also a machine with self service for those who don't want to queue up at one of the stores.
you can’t miss the two stores of the mobile internet operators in Qatar. On your left hand side you will see an Ooredoo store and a Vodafone store. Buying a sim card for Qatar on arrival at Doha International Airport is easy.
Official retail store of Vodafone and Ooredoo
If you are looking for the cheapest prepaid sim cards for Qatar then buy your Qatar sim card in the city and not at Doha Airport. You will save a couple dollars, but not much.
In any bigger shopping mall you will find stores of Ooredoo and Vodafone who will be able to sell tourist sim cards for Qatar and in general the official retail stores provide very good service.
If you weren’t able to buy a prepaid sim card for Qatar at Doha International Airport and wondering where is the nearest store of Vodafone or Ooredoo then simply use Google Maps to locate the one nearest to your hotel.
Traveltomtom does not recommend buying a prepaid sim card for Qatar at a random phone store. I am sure there will be people selling Qatar sim cards in phone shop that might work fine. However, there is a risk as these phone stores don’t have the ability to officially register your sim card with your passport.
You can only buy a prepaid sim card in Qatar with an official form of identification. For tourists that means a passport. A copy of your passport will be taken in the store and your new Qatar sim card and phone number will be registered on your name and linked to your passport number.
Tourists can only register 1 prepaid sim card per passport in Qatar!
Internet censorship in Qatar
Keep in mind that Qatar is a conservative Muslim country and there might be a couple thing different than in your own country. According to Wikipedia Qatar filters pornography, political criticism of Gulf countries, gay and lesbian content, sexual health resources, dating and escort services, and privacy and circumvention tools.
But good news for those that like to use dating apps: Tinder works like normal and is a popular app to use in Qatar.
Prices prepaid sim cards in Qatar in 2023
Let's compare the prepaid sim card packages of Vodafone and Ooredoo in order to find the best sim card for Qatar. 10 QAR = 2.75 USD
A Vodafone prepaid sim card costs 10 QAR and then you have to top up with one of the following available packages:
- 3 GB data + 120 minutes = 30 QAR
- 4 GB data + 200 minutes = 50 QAR
- 8 GB data + 240 minutes = 60 QAR - $16 USD
- 16 GB data + 360 minutes = 100 QAR - $27.5 USD
- 24 GB data + 750 minutes = 150 QAR
For more information check out the Vodafone Qatar website.
A sim card of Ooredoo is free and tourists visiting the World Cup football can choose from the following two Fan Sim Card deals:
- 2 GB data + 25 minutes for 7 days = 35 QAR
- 20 GB data + 400 minutes for 30 days = 150 QAR
For more info check the Ooredoo Qatar website.
Best 4G/5G network in Qatar in 2023
If you are visiting Qatar then you want to make sure to stay connected to the fastest data network available. Both Vodafone and Ooredoo have extensive mobile networks across the country.
Is there 5G in Qatar?
Yes, there is 5G in Qatar. Both Ooreedoo and Vodafone cover most of the popular tourist destinations, cities and bigger towns with an excellent 5G signal.
Let’s compare the Qatar 4G/5G network coverage maps to find out which provider has the best 4G/5G network coverage in Qatar in 2023.
Vodafone 4G/5G network coverage map
Ooredoo 4G/5G network coverage map
From the above 4G/5G coverage maps for Qatar we can clearly see that the Ooredoo network is much stronger and more extensive than the Vodafone network, which makes it a simple conclusion that Ooredoo has the best 4G/5G network in Qatar in 2023.
Best prepaid sim card in Qatar in 2023
The above comparison of the best prepaid sim cards in Qatar gets me to a couple easy conclusions.
International and e-Sim cards for Qatar are very easy to order online and the most convenient way to get connected when traveling to Qatar. However, they give you much less data for the same price.
If you are looking for the cheapest prepaid sim card deal in Qatar then buy a Vodafone Qatar sim card on arrival in Qatar. Vodafone is significantly cheaper than Ooredoo. However, Ooredoo has the best 4G/5G network in Qatar and faster data speed. They also were the official sponsor and service provider for the World Cup Football in Qatar 2023 and during that event I had excellent experiences with them.
Therefore Ooredoo is the best prepaid sim card in Qatar in 2023.
Order a sim card for Qatar online
Does the above all sound like too much hassle or you simply want to prepare yourself in advance then Traveltomtom recommends you to look into an international sim card for Qatar. E-sim cards are easier but not every phone is e-sim card ready. The alternative is an international sim card for Qatar.
These international sim cards with data coverage in Qatar are pre-activated and will be send to your home address before your trip. It is plug and play! Check out the following Qatar sim card deals:
- 6 GB data for 10 days = $19.90 USD
- 6 GB data for 15 days = $39.90 USD
- 10 GB data for 14 days = $49.90 USD
Click here to order one of the above international sim card deals for Qatar or find more info in the link.
Last reminder that you can also still order an e-sim card for Qatar and get yourself all set up and connected for traveling to Qatar within just a couple minutes. Click on the link for more info.
How to get from Doha Airport to the city
There are busses and metros that connect the city with Doha International Airport, but my preferred way of getting to the city is a taxi. You can easily order an Uber or a Careem taxi through the app and you will be surprised how affordable it is. For about $15 USD you get from Doha International Airport to the city center.
I hope all the above tips for getting connected in Qatar were helpful for your upcoming trip. Let me know if you have any more questions and I am more than happy to help you out!
Curious what it looks like trying to visit every country in the world? Go check out my Instagram account @traveltomtom and follow along. As of May 2023 I have visited more than 155 countries, so still a long way to go.
Enjoy the World Cup in Qatar!