2 Best Prepaid SIM Cards in Qatar: Buying Guide


When visiting Qatar, you certainly want to get a Qatari SIM card to stay connected because there is a lot of cool things to see and capture in Qatar.

Qatar is mainly known for its airline, Qatar Airways, because they offer luxury products in both premium class and economy class. Besides their airline and Doha International Airport, there are plenty of things to do in Al Khor, Mesaieed, Al Wakrah, and, of course, Doha.

Getting a Qatari SIM card is relatively cheap and easy to do. There are only two operators, Vodafone Qatar and Ooredoo Qatar, with no Mobile Virtual Network Operators. This way, you do not have to deal with expensive roaming bills after you get back from your trip in Qatar.

In this article, I will go over everything you need to know about SIM cards in Qatar. Let's do this.

Can You Buy a SIM Card in Qatar?

Everyone older than 18 is allowed to buy a Qatari SIM card without limitations.

You have to comply with the SIM card registration laws in Qatar. Furthermore, your device has to support the frequencies used in Qatar. Finally, your phone needs to be SIM-lock free (unlocked).

Can You Use Your Phone in Qatar?

Qatar uses GSM for its mobile telecommunications network. They use frequencies used in many regions around the world (Europe, Asia, Africa, and Oceania – ITU Regions 1 & 3).

However, these frequencies are not used in the Americas (North-, Central-, and South America + the Caribbean – ITU Region 2).

ITU Regions Map
By Maximilian Dörrbecker (Chumwa) – Own work, using this fileOpens in a new tab. by Denelson83, CC BY-SA 2.5

If you bought your phone in the Americas, if your device has not been unlocked, or your phone does not support the Qatari frequencies, then you cannot use your phone in Qatar.

Mobile Operators, Networks & Frequencies in Qatar

Qatar has two mobile telecom operators:

The following frequencies are used by the Qatari operators:

  • 2G: 900 MHz & 1800 MHz
  • 3G: 900 MHz & 2100 MHz
  • 4G/LTE: 800 MHz (Band 20), 1800 MHz (Band 3) & 2600 MHz (Band 7)
  • 5G/NR: 3500 MHz (n78)

Again, make sure your phone is unlocked. Otherwise, you will not be able to use any SIM card except the one from your home operator (meaning you have to roam internationally or buy another unlocked phone that does support the frequencies listed above).

If you want to learn how international roaming works, this guide explains it in-depth. If you wonder why it is often so expensive to roam, this article explains the hidden reason they do not want you to know.

The Best Prepaid SIM Card in Qatar

If you want to buy a SIM card in Qatar, then Ooredoo Qatar is the best option, simply because they have the best coverage in Qatar and fastest speeds. Consider Vodafone if you want to use 5G/NR because Vodafone allows prepaid customers to use its 5G/NR network.

ALSO: Want to get an excel sheet of the best SIM cards of over 230+ destinations around the world, updated monthly? Sign up for the Phone Travel Wiz Newsletter and get the excel sheet for FREE!

SIM Card Registration Regulations in Qatar

Just like most countries in the Middle East, you need to register your passport details when buying a SIM card in Qatar. Tourists and travelers can have a maximum of 2 SIM cards on their names and passport number.

The State of the Telecom Market in Qatar

Flag of Qatar

Qatar is next to the Persian Gulf, which means that the country has access to submarine cables. Qatar is linked to six international submarine cables. In general, countries with direct access to submarine cables have faster internet than landlocked countries or countries without direct access to submarine cables.

According to Open SignalOpens in a new tab., both Ooredoo Qatar and Vodafone Qatar have good coverage throughout Qatar. However, Ooredoo Qatar has superior coverage.

Open Signal Qatar 4G Coverage Chart

The Speedtest Global IndexOpens in a new tab. showed that Qatar had an average mobile download speed of 84 Mbps in June 2020Opens in a new tab., placing Qatar on position 4 of the index. This makes Qatar faster than neighboring countries Saudi Arabia (10th), Bahrain (42th), and Iran (66th). However, the mobile download speeds are faster in the United Arab Emirates, which is placed on spot 2 on the index.

When looking at the average download speeds of both Ooredoo Qatar and Vodafone Qatar, a study done by Open Signal in April 2020Opens in a new tab. showed that the average download speed with Ooredoo Qatar was 37 Mbps, while Vodafone Qatar offered download speeds of 28.5 Mbps. These results are much lower than the results of Speedtest, but Open Signal had a smaller sample size than Speedtest.

Opensignal Qatar Speed Chart

Overall, Open Signals believes that Ooredoo is the best operator in Qatar, which many locals can agree with too.

Open Signal Qatar Table

Mobile data rates are average in Qatar compared to the average of all Middle Eastern countries. Cable.co.ukOpens in a new tab. found that the average cost for 1 GB of data is 4.12 USD in Qatar compared to the Middle Eastern average of 4.77 USD/GB. When looking at the Qatari mobile internet prices from a global perspective, it is slightly below the world average of 4.24 USD/GB.

Do note that internet censorship is prevalent in Qatar. The government censors various things, such as LGBTQ-content, pornography, political criticism, and escort services. The WIFi in some hotels is not subject to this censorship, but your traffic will still be monitored at all times. That is why I would recommend using a VPN to browse the web in peace. I use both NordVPN and Surfshark.

NordVPN has the most server of any VPN service out there, which I love. Surfshark is insanely cheap for the price they charge. Depending on where I am, I will either use NordVPN or Surfshark. Neither services have servers in Qatar, which makes sense, but connecting to nearby countries will still result in fast browsing speeds.

You can get amazing discounts for both NordVPN and Surfshark when using these links. Stay safe and secure when in Qatar!

Currency in Qatar

Qatar uses the Qatari Rial with the symbol QAR (which will be used throughout this article). Prices in Qatar are listed in QR or QAR. For reference, below are some exchange rates between QAR and USD (US Dollars – Rounded):

  • 1 QAR = 0.25 USD
  • 10 QAR = 2.75 USD
  • 100 QAR = 27.45 USD
  • 1000 QAR = 274.65 USD

For up-to-date QAR:USD exchange rates, search QAR to USD on Google, or replace USD with the currency you use.

If your credit/debit card charges you foreign exchange fees, get yourself a Transferwise Borderless Account and Debit Card. Their fees are MUCH lower than banks, and credit card companies charge you (and Transferwise is transparent about their fees, unlike banks). I have saved literal HUNDREDS of Euros when using Transferwise abroad when traveling compared to my debit and credit cards. Open a Transferwise account FREE!

Transferwise Banner

Qatari Prepaid SIM Cards & Video Guide

Below, I will guide you through Ooredoo Qatar and Vodafone Qatar and go through:

  • Background information about the operators
  • Mobile coverage
  • How to get a SIM card from each operator
  • How to recharge your SIM card
  • What type of data-featured packages are offered by the operators

If you prefer to watch a video of what the Qatari operators have to offer, be sure to check the video below AND also subscribe to my channelOpens in a new tab. for more local prepaid SIM card guides, SIM card reviews (prepaid and international), mobile hotspots, and international roaming guides. You should still go through the guide after watching the video (I refer to it multiple times throughout the video).

With that being said, let’s see what the Qatari operators have to offer to us.

Ooredoo Qatar

Ooredoo Logo

Ooredoo QatarOpens in a new tab., just Ooredoo, is the market leader with more than 65% of the market share. Ooredoo also has the best coverage and speeds throughout Qatar, making them the best option for those not staying in cities and towns.

How to get an Ooredoo Qatar SIM Card

You can buy an Ooredoo SIM card, called Hala, for 35 QAR in Ooredoo stores and at the Ooredoo kiosk at Doha International Airport. The Hala SIM card is also sold as an eSIM. It is also possible to order the Hala SIM card online for free, which will be delivered to your place of stay in Qatar within 3 business days.

If you want to learn how eSIMs work and if they work abroad, this article explains it in-depth.

An Ooredoo Hala SIM card has an initial validity of 120 days. If you do not recharge for 120 days, the SIM card will be deactivated. Recharges extend the validity of your SIM card for 30 days all the way up to 365 days.

Ooredoo Qatar Visitor SIM

You can also get an Ooredoo Visitor SIM for 35 QAR (or 9.67 USD if paying in USD), which comes with 250 MB, 25 local minutes, and 25 international minutes to 121 destinations for 7 days.

The Ooredoo Visitor SIM card can be ordered online and be picked up at the QDF Shop in the baggage collection areaOpens in a new tab., 24/7 Shop in the arrivalsOpens in a new tab., and the Ooredoo Kiosk in the the arrivals areaOpens in a new tab. (Doha International Airport).

The 121 destinations you call to with the Ooredoo Visitor SIM, or any other plan that comes with international minutes or credits, are:

  • Andorra
  • Angola
  • Argentina
  • Aruba
  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Bahrain
  • Bangladesh
  • Belgium
  • Bhutan
  • Bolivia
  • Botswana
  • Brazil
  • Brunei
  • Bulgaria
  • Cambodia
  • Canada
  • China
  • Colombia
  • Costa Rica
  • Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Ecuador
  • Egypt
  • El Salvador: Buying Guide”>El Salvador
  • Estonia
  • Eswatini (Swaziland)
  • Faroe Islands
  • Finland
  • France
  • French Guiana
  • Georgia
  • Germany
  • Ghana
  • Gibraltar
  • Greece
  • Guadeloupe
  • Guatemala
  • Honduras
  • Hong Kong
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Iran
  • Iraq
  • Ireland
  • Japan
  • Jordan
  • Kazakhstan
  • Kenya
  • Kuwait
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Laos
  • Lebanon
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Macau (Macao)
  • Malawi
  • Malaysia
  • Malta
  • Martinique
  • Mauritius
  • Mayotte
  • Mexico
  • Mongolia
  • Mozambique
  • Namibia
  • Nepal
  • Netherlands
  • Netherlands Antilles
  • New Caledonia
  • New Zealand
  • Nigeria
  • Norway
  • Oman
  • Pakistan
  • Palestine

How to Top Up an Ooredoo Qatar SIM Card

You can recharge your Hala SIM Card with recharge cards in denominations from 10 QAR to 500 QAR. They are sold in Ooredoo stores (with self-services machines), other retailers, or on the Ooredoo App.

Do note that topping up with the Ooredoo App is, for now, only possible with a Qatari bank account.

The following Hala Recharge cards are available:

Recharge CreditValidity
10 QAR30 Days
20 QAR60 Days
30 QAR180 Days​
50 QAR180 Days
100 QAR180 Days
200 QAR360 Days
500 QAR365 Days

You can redeem your Hala Recharge card by dialing *100#, onlineOpens in a new tab., or on the Ooredoo App.

You can check your Ooredoo balance by dialing *129#.

Ooredoo Qatar Internet Packages, Plans, Bundles & Offers

Ooredoo offers two combo packs and one data-only plan, which are:

  • All in one Packs (credit-system combo plans)
  • Local Packs (combo plans)
  • Data Packs (data-only plans)

Click on the links above to jump to the pack you are interested in.

Ooredoo All in one Packs (Flexi)

The All in one Packs is a flexible credit system with Flexi Points that can be used for data, minutes, and SMS. 1 Flexi Point is about 7 MB (1 MB = 0.14 Flexi Points and 1 GB – 143 Flexi Points), 1 minute, or 1 SMS.

For example, 100 Flexi Points could be used for 700 MB, 100 minutes, or 100 SMS when going for the maximum of each action. The points could also be mixed in various ways, such as 350 MB (50 Flexi Points), 40 minutes (40 Flexi Points), and 10 SMS (10 Flexi Points).

You can also use your Flexi Points for international points. Depending on the country you are calling to, an international call will cost you between 1 Flexi Point to 65 Flexi Points.

In addition to the Flexi Points you get with each pack, you also get a data allowance. The All in one Packs are sold as one-time off packs (One Time Flexi Card) and recurrent packs (Recurrent Digital Flexi Packs).

The following All in one Packs are available:

PriceDataData ValidityFlexi PointsFlexi Points ValidityPack Type
5 QAR100 MBUntil midnight30 Flexi PointsUntil midnightOne-Time
5 QAR100 MBUntil midnight30 Flexi PointsUntil midnightRecurring
10 QAR250 MB3 days70 Flexi Points3 daysOne-Time
10 QAR250 MB3 days70 Flexi PointsUntil next day midnightRecurring
20 QAR550 MB7 days150 Flexi Points6 days One-Time
20 QAR550 MB7 days150 Flexi Points7 daysRecurring
60 QAR2 GB7 days500 Flexi Points30 daysOne-Time
60 QAR2 GB7 days500 Flexi Points30 daysRecurring
100 QAR2.2 GB7 days1000 Flexi Points30 daysOne-Time
100 QAR2.2 GB7 days1000 Flexi Points30 daysRecurring
150 QAR2.2 GB7 days2100 Flexi Points30 daysOne-Time
150 QAR2.2 GB7 days2100 Flexi Points30 daysRecurring
200 QAR2.2 GB7 days3100 Flexi Points30 daysOne-Time
200 QAR2.2 GB7 days3100 Flexi Points30 daysRecurring

You can activate a One Time Flexi Card by dialing *127*PIN#, by sending the PIN to 127, or onlineOpens in a new tab.. For example, if your PIN is 123456, you would dial *127*123456# or text 123456 to 127.

To activate a Recurrent Digital Flexi Pack, dial *121# or log into SelfcareOpens in a new tab.. To deactivate a Recurrent Digital Flexi Pack, text STOP F to 121.

A recurrent pack will auto-renew as per the validity. If you do not have enough credit, Ooredoo will put the plan on hold for 30 days. If you recharge your Ooredoo SIM card within those 30 days, your plan will be re-activated. Text Stop Hold to 121 to deactivate the hold status.

Dial *129*3# to check your Flexi Point balance.

Ooredoo Local Packs (Hala Smart)

The Local Packs, also known as Hala Smart, are weekly combo plans that come with data and minutes (referred to as units) that auto-renew. The following Hala Smart packs are available, which can be activated texting the activation code to 121:

PriceDataMinutes (Units)ValidityActivation
10 QAR100 MB100 units7 daysWP10
15 QAR175 MB175 units7 daysWP15
60 QAR250 MBUnlimited units 7 daysWP60

SMS are not included in the Local Packs. You will be charged 0.30 QAR/SMS.

A Hala Smart Pack will auto-renew after 7 days. If you do not have enough credit, Ooredoo will put the plan on hold for 30 days. If you recharge your Ooredoo SIM card within those 30 days, your plan will be re-activated. Text Stop Hold to 121 to deactivate the hold status.

Text Balance WP to 121 to check your Hala Smart Pack balance.

Ooredoo Data Packs

The data packs are standard data-only packs. They are sold as one-time off packs (One time Data Recharge) and recurrent packs (Recurrent Data Packs). The following data packs are available:

PriceDataValidityBonus DataBonus Data ValidityPack Type
5 QAR300 MBUntil midnightN/AN/AOne-Time
10 QAR750 MB3 daysN/AN/AOne-Time
20 QAR1 GB1 dayN/AN/ARecurring
20 QAR1 GB7 days N/AN/ARecurring
20 QAR1.6 GB7 days N/AN/AOne-Time
30 QAR1 GB14 days 1 GB7 days One-Time
60 QAR2.5 GB28 days 2 GB7 days One-Time
80 QAR4 GB28 days 2 GB7 days One-Time
100 QAR7 GB28 days 2 GB7 days One-Time
125 QAR“Unlimited”* 7 days N/AN/ARecurring
150 QAR14 GB28 days 2 GB7 days One-Time
200 QAR20 GB42 days2 GB7 days One-Time
* Fair-use limit of 125 GB/week

You can activate a One time Data Recharge by sending the PIN to 127 or onlineOpens in a new tab.. For example, if your PIN is 123456, you would text 123456 to 127.

To activate a Recurrent Data Pack, dial *121# or use the Ooredoo App. To deactivate a Recurrent Data Pack, text STOP DP to 121.

A recurrent pack will auto-renew as per the validity. If you do not have enough credit, Ooredoo will put the plan on hold for 30 days. If you recharge your Ooredoo SIM card within those 30 days, your plan will be re-activated. Text Stop Hold to 121 to deactivate the hold status.

Dial *129# to check your data balance.

Ooredoo Qatar APN Settings

In most cases, your phone will retrieve the correct Ooredoo Qatar APN settings automatically. If you need to enter it manually, then you need the following details (do not add anything not mentioned below):

  • Name: Ooredoo Qa
  • APN: data
  • MCC: 427
  • MNC: 01

RELATED GUIDES:

Vodafone Qatar

Vodafone Logo

Vodafone QatarOpens in a new tab., just Vodafone, is the second player in Qatar. Their coverage is not on par as the one of Ooredoo, but they still have good coverage throughout the country. Vodafone is, on average, the cheaper option in Qatar.

How to get a Vodafone Qatar SIM Card

You can get a Vodafone SIM card starting from 30 QAR in Vodafone storesOpens in a new tab. throughout Qatar. It is also possible to order a Vodafone SIM card onlineOpens in a new tab.. The starter packs are sold for 30 QAR, 50 QAR, 100 QAR, 150 QAR, 200 QAR, or 300 QAR, which come with the same amount in credit.

An eSIM variant is also available and offered for free as a promotion for an undisclosed timeframe.

A Vodafone SIM card has an initial validity of 120 days. If you do not recharge for 120 days, the SIM card will be deactivated. Recharges extend the validity of your SIM card for 60 days all the way up to 365 days, depending on the recharge amount.

How to Top Up a Vodafone Qatar SIM Card

You can recharge your Vodafone SIM card with a top-up card that is sold in Vodafone stores or any store that has the Vodafone logo on their storefront.

To top-up, dial *777*PIN# for Vodafone Flex or 127*PIN# for a normal recharge without Flex Recharge benefits (to buy a Flex Plan, for example). If your PIN is 123456, you would dial *777*123456# or *127*123456#.

Vodafone uses a Flex system where you use credits (Flex) for data, minutes, and SMS instead of getting a set allowance. 1 GB = 147 Flex, 1 minute = 1 Flex, and 1 SMS = 1 Flex.

For example, 1000 Flex could be used for 6.8 GB, 1000 minutes, or 1000 SMS when going for the maximum of each action. The points could also be mixed in various ways, such as 5 GB (735 Flex), 200 minutes (200 Flex), and 65 SMS (65 Flex).

The following Flex recharges are available:

Recharge CreditFlexValidity
5 QAR30 Flex30 days
10 QAR70 Flex30 days
20 QAR150 Flex7 days
55 QAR475 Flex30 days
100 QAR1000 Flex30 days
150 QAR2050 Flex30 days
200 QAR3100 Flex30 days
300 QAR3750 Flex30 days
500 QAR6250 Flex30 days

Dial *130# to check your Flex balance.

Vodafone Qatar Internet Packages, Plans, Bundles & Offers

Vodafone offers data through Flex recharges and Flex plans. The difference between Flex recharge and Flex plans is that Flex recharges have, in most cases, a validity of 30 days, whereas the validity of Flex plans range from 1 day to 30 days. Moreover, Flex Recharge Internet recharges come with data in addition to Flex.

Let's go through the Flex Recharge Internet and Flex Plan offers.

Vodafone Flex Recharge Internet

The Flex Recharge Internet recharges are recharges that only come with data and Flex. The following 4 Flex Recharge Internet packs are available, which can be activated by dialing *777*PIN#:

PriceDataFlexValidity
60 QAR2.5 GB500 Flex30 days
80 QAR4 GB700 Flex30 days
100 QAR7 GB1000 Flex30 days
200 QAR20 GB3100 Flex30 days

Dial *130# to check your Flex balance.

Vodafone Flex Plans

Vodafone Flex Plans are plans that come with Flex. The following Flex plans are available:

PriceFlexValidityActivation
5 QAR30 FlexUntil midnight*200*3005#
10 QAR70 FlexUntil next day midnight*200*1110#
20 QAR150 Flex7 days *200*771#
50 QAR450 Flex30 days*200*45#
100 QAR1000 Flex30 days *200*1000#

Dial *130# to check your Flex balance.

Vodafone Qatar APN Settings

In most cases, your phone will retrieve the correct Vodafone Qatar APN settings automatically. If you need to enter it manually, then you need the following details (do not add anything not mentioned below):

  • Name: Vodafone Qatar
  • APN: web.vodafone.com.qa

Other Ways to Get Online When Traveling in Qatar

Being redone.

The Preferred Way to Stay Online When Traveling in Qatar

Getting a SIM card from Ooredoo (best coverage and fastests speeds) would do you well when considering a Qatari SIM card.

Local Prepaid SIM Cards in Other Middle Eastern Countries

Visiting other countries in the Middle East? Check out my Middle Eastern SIM card buying guide, covering other Middle Eastern countries, such as:

Going to other places around the world? Then you should also check out my sim card buying guides for other destinations around the world.

Next Steps to Enhance Your Travel Experiences

Looking for the next steps to enhance your phone travel experiences? Here is what to do:

Check Out My Resource Page

Looking for the best companies and gadgets to enhance your travel experience? Check out my travel resources page for the best companies to use when you travel! Save money with international SIM cards, on plane tickets, bus rides, cruises, and accommodation. Besides that, I also list services and items I use to make my life easier – and I believe they will help you too!

Start Your Own Online Business – Make Money While Traveling

Do you want to learn how I started an online business that allows me to generate income while traveling? In my starting an online business guide, I tell you which tools, services, and products I have for this site and my YouTube channel. If I can start a business about something I am passionate about (phone travel), then you can do it too!

Learn About Your Phone Travel Options

You can buy local prepaid SIM cards, international SIM cards, mobile hotspots, or roam internationally. Each of these options has its pros and cons. Learn more about them, and find the best option for you.

Phone Travel Tips, Tricks & Hacks

I have written many articles with tips and hacks to save money on mobile costs while abroad. You surely want to check them out!

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Learn More About Who Adu Actually Is

Who is the guy behind Phone Travel Wiz? Well, find out on the Ernest Adu about page!

Ernest Adu

Ernest Adu, going by just Adu, is the founder and editor at Phone Travel Wiz. He has been a traveler for 7 years. Although from Europe, the Netherlands, Adu's favorite region is Asia. In particular, East and Southeast Asia. He currently is in the Netherlands.

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