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 January 2024, the best 4G/5G network in Qatar, the best 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, Singapore, Australia, Philippines, Brazil 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 me!
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 and they have a good prepaid sim card deal for tourists.
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 stadiums with so many people together in one place I could still upload on super fast 5G speed. Thumbs up for Ooredoo.
E-sim cards are also recommended. You can buy an e-sim card for Qatar via Airalo, SimOptions and Nomad. With an e-sim card you arrive prepared and are online as soon as the plane lands. More info below.
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 2024 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.
Best e-sim cards for Qatar
The easiest way to stay connected when traveling to Qatar in 2024 is an e-sim card. 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.
You order an e-sim card for Qatar on the internet, you receive a QR code, scan it, follow the simple steps and within less than 2 minutes you have a Qatar e-sim card installed on your phone.
Upon arrival in Qatar it automatically connects you to an available network and you enjoy data on your phone pretty much when the plane lands.
Make sure your phone is e-sim compatible before ordering an e-sim card for Qatar.
Airalo is a trusted e-sim provider that Traveltomtom has used in more than 50 countries around the world. Check out the Airalo e-sim card deals for Qatar in 2024:
- 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 for more info or to directly order a Qatar e-sim card via Airalo.
The above Qatar e-sim cards are from Pearl Mobile, a third party MVNO that operates on the 4G/LTE network of Vodafone.
SimOptions is another trusted e-sim provider and they sell international e-sim cards valid in up to 141 countries, including Qatar:
- 6 GB data for 10 days = $17.90 USD
- 6 GB data for 8 days = $19.90 USD
- 6 GB data for 15 days = $39.90 USD
- 10 GB data for 14 days = $39.90 USD
Click here to order an international e-sim card for Qatar via SimOptions.
- 1 GB data for 7 days = $5 USD
- 3 GB data for 30 days = $17 USD
- 5 GB data for 30 days = $23 USD
- 10 GB data for 30 days = $37 USD
Click here for more info or to directly order a Qatar e-sim card via Nomad.
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. Both providers also offer e-sim cards for tourists that you can buy on arrival at for example the airport.
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 tourist 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 from baggage claim.
The Ooredoo store is on your right hand side when walking into the arrival hall from the baggage claim.
Doha Airport 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 vending 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 were not 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! If this is something you would like to avoid for some reason then look into ordering an e-sim card for Qatar. Traveltomtom recommends using Airalo, Nomad or SimOptions. You don't need an ID registration for activating an e-sim card for 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 2024
Let's compare the prepaid sim card packages of Vodafone and Ooredoo in order to find the best sim card for Qatar. All info and prices below are updated in January 2024 and 10 QAR = $2.75 USD and $1 USD = 3.64 QAR.
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
Vodafone offers physical prepaid sim cards as well as e-sim cards for tourists. 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
Ooredoo offers physical prepaid sim cards as well as e-sim cards for tourists. For more info check the Ooredoo Qatar website.
Best 4G/5G network in Qatar in 2024
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 2024.
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 a little 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 2024.
However, the Vodafone network also reaches all the best places to visit in Qatar.
Best sim card for Qatar in 2024
After comparing the best prepaid sim cards in Qatar and the e-sim cards available on the internet Traveltomtom came to the following conclusion.
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 and are data-only. SimOptions has the best e-sim card deal for Qatar with an e-sim for $17.90 with 6 GB data. Which is less than $3 USD per Gigabyte.
If you are looking for the cheapest prepaid sim card deal in Qatar then buy a Vodafone sim card on arrival in Qatar. Vodafone prepaid sim cards for tourists are 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 2022 and during that event I had excellent experiences with an Ooredoo sim card.
Ooredoo is the best prepaid sim card in Qatar in 2024, but a Vodafone sim card is definitely not a bad substitute and a great prepaid sim card for tourists as well.
Order a prepaid sim card for Qatar online
If your phone is not e-sim compatible and buying a sim card on arrival in Qatar sounds like too much hassle then look into the following.
Arrive prepared in Qatar with an international prepaid sim card. You order them online and a physical prepaid sim card will be delivered to your home address. You put this sim card in your phone and it automatically connects to an available network upon arrival in Qatar, basically when the plane lands you are instantly online.
These international sim cards with data coverage in Qatar are pre-activated. It is plug and play!
Check out the following international prepaid sim card deal from SimOptions:
- 10 GB data for 14 days = $49.90 USD
Click here to order an international sim card for Qatar via SimOptions.
Last reminder that if your phone is e-sim compatible you can order an e-sim card for Qatar on the internet and get yourself all set up and connected for traveling to Qatar within just a couple minutes. Traveltomtom recommends ordering an e-sim card for Qatar via Airalo, Nomad or SimOptions.
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 January 2024 I have visited more than 155 countries, so still a long way to go.
Enjoy your trip to Qatar!
Some links in this article about the best sim cards for visiting Qatar are affiliate links. If you buy any of the products after using an affiliate link I will earn a small commission. Don’t worry this is at absolutely no extra cost to you.