There are two mobile network operators in Qatar:
Ooredoo has the better coverage and higher speeds at higher prices compared to Vodafone. 2G/GSM is 900 and 1800 MHz and 3G/UMTS on 2100 MHz.
4G/LTE has started on 800, 1800 and 2600 MHz (bands 3, 7, 20) in 2012 on Ooredoo and 2014 on Vodafone. Ooredoo covers all of the territory by the end of 2015 with LTE, Vodafone only in city centers. 4G/LTE is available on prepaid without surcharges. 5G started in 2018 on 3600 MHz in limited locations.
In Open Signal's country test of May 2019 both operators tied with a 86% LTE-availablility and average download speeds of about 25 Mbit/s.
You can purchase a SIM card in a store of the network providers. For registration you have to show a passport. Better register at the point of purchase or your SIM card will be shut off. If you are a visitor, you can have maximum of 2 numbers registered on your name and Passport number, whereas residents can own up to 5 numbers.
Qatar 'filters' a.k.a. censors the internet with regard to pornography, political criticism of Gulf countries, gay and lesbian content, sexual health resources, dating and escort services, and privacy and circumvention tools. Users complain that non-obscene or non-offensive websites are also blocked. So you may install a proxy or VPN before to circumvent this. The filtering in Qatar is relatively transparent as a block site is shown instead. Internet at least in some international hotels, is not subject to censorship.
Ooredoo (Arabic أريدو), formely Qtel, is the market leader in Qatar with more than 2/3 of all customers in the country. It has the best coverage and speeds in the country: Coverage map
Its prepaid line is called Hala.
The Hala stater set is sold for QR 35 in their outlets Ooredoo store locator. It includes 250 domestic minutes and 250 MB data valid for 7 days. Hala is available as e-SIM as well.
Top-ups are available in denominations of QR 10-500 giving 30-360 days of validity. Thereafter your line will only be able to receive calls and SMS for 30 days. You can re-activate it by topping up within 120 days of expiring and get back all unused credit. Your line will be de-activated after 120 days and cannot be re-activated. The unused credit will be lost.
Check balance and validity by *129#.
According to Hala's terms and conditions:
- "The initial active line validity will be 30 days, and customers need to top-up with QR 10 or above within the first 30 days to extend their active line validity."
- "The new Hala line will be terminated after 150 days of activation if the customer fails to make a Hala top-up during this period, which includes 30 days of active line validity, 30 days of grace period, and 90 days of suspension period."
Data feature packs
Data outside of packs is at QR 0.99 per MB. These data packs called Mobile Intenet packs are offered:
|until midnight||500 MB||QR 10|
|14 days||1 GB||QR 30|
|28 days||2.5 GB||QR 60|
|28 days||4 GB||QR 80|
|28 days||7 GB||QR 100|
|28 days||14 GB||QR 150|
|42 days||20 GB||QR 200|
To activate dieal 121. All packs will automatically renew, if there is enough credit. They can be stopped with the SMS ‘STOP <activation code>' to 121. To check data balance, enter *129*14#.
Furthermore, Ooredoo sells Flexi top-up cards. You can load data, minutes or SMS directly on your plan by vouchers or online or by using their app. 1 MB translates into 0.14 Flexi Points:
- QR 5: 30 Flexi points = 30 mins, 30 SMS or 214 MB, valid until midnight
- QR 10: 70 Flexi points = 70 mins, 70 SMS or 500 MB, valid for 2 days
- QR 20: 150 Flexi points = 150 mins, 150 SMS or 1 GB, valid for 7 days
- QR 60: 500 Flexi points = 500 mins, 500 SMS or 3.5 GB, valid for 30 days
- QR 100: 1000 Flexi points = 1000 mins, 1000 SMS or 7 GB, valid for 30 days
- QR 150: 2100 Flexi points = 2100 mins, 2100 SMS or 15 GB, valid for 30 days
- QR 200: 3100 Flexi points = 3100 mins, 3100 SMS or 22 GB, valid for 30 days
For cheap roaming Ooredoo offers its Passport Card or Passport Pack: For QR 100 they include 100 mins incoming and outgoing and 1 GB data (2 GB in GCC countries) valid for 7 days. Just top up with a Passport pack and text 'OP' tot 121. Check balance by texting 'Balance OP' to 121.
- APN: data, Port: 80, MCC: 427, MNC: 01
- Website in English: https://www.ooredoo.qa/
Vodafone is the no.2 in Qatar, but as long as you stay mainly in centers, it's the slightly cheaper alternative. 4G/LTE is available in Doha, Pearl and West Bay: Vodafone coverage map. In 2018 Vodafone sold its Qatari branch to its joint venture partner Vodafone & Qatar Foundation. The now Qatari operator has the approval to stick to the Vodafone brand for at least 5 more years.
Vodafone Qatar announced in August 2019 that ‘all Vodafone SIM cards are now 5G-ready’. All Vodafone customers, on any of its prepaid or postpaid mobile plans, have the chance to access 5G mobile connectivity with a compatible device. Currently, two compatible smartphones are available in Vodafone stores, namely the Huawei Mate 20 X 5G and Xiaomi Mi 5G. The operator’s 5G network is live in dozens of residential locations across Qatar including Al Waab, Abu Hamour, Al Azizya, Al Mamoura, Al Rayyan, Umm Salal Muhammed, Khartiyat, Al Hilal, Muntazah, Muraykh and Al Sadd.
Their welcome pack is sold at any Vodafone store (locator) for QR 25. It only contains local minutes and needs to be recharged for more. USB modems for use with mobile broadband are also available in any Vodafone store.
You can charge it at their stores or online with 20, 35, 100, 150, 350 or 500 QR giving 60-365 days of validty. Check your account balance and validity by *100#. A SIM card is valid for 120 days after the date of credit expiry. Thereafter your SIM will be suspended.
Data feature packs
Default data rate outside of packs is 0.99 QR per MB.
|Daily Pack 1||QR 1||1 day||10 MB||*200*302#|
|Weekly Pack 6||QR 6||7 days||75 MB||*200*306#|
|Weekly Pack 10||QR 10||7 days||150 MB||*200*710#|
|Weekly Pack 20||QR 20||7 days||1 GB||*200*720#|
|Weekly Pack 125||QR 125||7 days||unlimited||*200*125#|
|Internet Pack 30||QR 30||15 days||500 MB||online/store|
|Internet 60||QR 60||28 days||2.5 GB||online/store|
|Internet 80||QR 80||28 days||4 GB||online/store|
|Internet 100||QR 100||28 days||7 GB||online/store|
|Internet 200||QR 200||42 days||20 GB||online/store|
When you have used all your data allowance, you 'll be charged on the standard rate of 0.99 QR/MB. Or you can change by *200*111# to activate the Smart Data Rate. QR 3 are charged per 150 MB until midnight of the day for up to 750 MB, beyond QR 0.02 per MB.
In 2017 Vodafone extended their Flex scheme to prepaid. Flex is a set of units which gives you the flexibility to consume to customize your plan for local & international calls, SMS and internet the way you want. To change to Flex dial *200*771#, to deactivate dial *100#.
It has a weekly base rate of Q 20 giving you 200 Flex units. Data by default is 205 Flex points per GB. These top-ups can be added for more data (mis, SMS):
- top-up QR 20 = 200 Flex points
- top-up QR 55 = 550 Flex points
- top-up QR 100 = 1000 Flex points
- top-up QR 150 = 2000 Flex points
- top-up QR 200 = 3000 Flex points
- top-up QR 500 = 5000 Flex points
- top-up Internet 60: QR 60 = 2.5 GB
- top-up Internet 80: QR 80 = 4 GB
- top-up Internet 100: QR 100 = 7 GB
- top-up Internet 200: QR 200 = 20 GB
Dial *777*<PIN># to recharge. You will get 2 options: 1. Credit balance or Data or 2. Flex. The QR 20 Flex balance is valid for 7 days, all remaining Flex balance cards are valid for 30 days. Dial *130# to check your Flex balance.
In 76 countries (list) you can use 1 GB data on roaming for a week at QR 100. In the GCC countries this is doubled to 2 GB. Activation is by code *200*100#.
- APN: web.vodafone.com.qa
- Website in English: http://www.vodafone.qa/en