SIM Cards at Doha Airport: A Quick Complete Guide for Arrivals
A map and guide to help visitors arriving at Doha Airport figure out where to buy a SIM card, and which one to buy. I frequently visit new cities and I understand how confusing it can be to step off a plane, want to get connected, and not know where to turn. Hopefully this guide clears up some of that confusion.
There are two shops at Doha airport selling SIM cards:
|Shop||Location||SIM Cards Available|
Open 24 hours
|Turn right after leaving customs. See map above.||
Qatar Duty Free
Open 24 hours
|Before bag collection||
Prepaid SIM cards can be purchased when arriving at Doha Airport from the following shops:
- Ooredoo kiosk, open 24 hours, located after customs
- Qatar Duty Free Store, open 24 hours, located before baggage claim
Both shops sell the Ooredoo Visitor SIM card for 35 QAR. This SIM card includes 150MB of data and flexi points that can be spent on more data or calls; the included credit is valid for 7 days and can be topped up after that. By spending the flexi points on data, it is possible to get 1GB of data.
Overall I find the best SIM card to buy when arriving in Doha is the Ooredoo Visitor SIM for 35 QAR1. The other option, Vodafone, can be purchased after leaving the airport and also starts at 35 QAR2. I’ve also included in this guide what it costs for people from some countries (such as US, UK and others) to bring their SIM cards and roam in Qatar.
There are three parts to this guide:
Part 1: Buying a SIM card at Doha Airport
Ooredoo is the only provider selling SIM cards at Doha Airport.
The Visitor SIM card sold by Ooredoo for 35 QAR includes:
- 7 day validity
- 150 “flexi points”
- 150mb of data
Flexi points can be spent on calls, SMS, or more data. The card can also be topped up to extend validity, add more calls/data, or add more flexi points (which can then be spent on calls/data).
Adding more data includes:
- 500mb for 10 QAR or 70 flexi points, lasts 1 day (until midnight on the day the data is purchased)
- 1GB for 20 QAR or 150 flexi points, lasts 7 days
- 2.5GB for 60 QAR or 500 flexi points, lasts 28 days
Local calls cost 0.60 QAR per minute, or can be included in the following bundles:
- 100 units for QAR 10 (recurring), includes 100mb of data
- 175 units for QAR 15 (recurring), includes 100mb of data
- Unlimited units for QAR 60 (recurring), includes 250mb of data
I believe 1 unit = 1 minute of call or 1 SMS, but I’ve never actually used this option. When I visited Qatar, I used apps to make phone calls. To find out more about how to make calls to friends, family, and locals while travelling, check out my guide here: https://landinglastminute.com/calling-while-travelling-guide/
International calls: To call back home or any other country costs 0.99 QAR per minute without a bundle or 0.55 QAR per minute if subscribed to one of the local call bundles above. Bundle packs are available offering cheaper calls to countries such as India, Nepal, and Jordan.
Topping up options for Ooredoo SIM cards include online top up with credit card, or by purchasing cards/vouchers at various shops and convenience stores throughout the Qatar. Validity of the SIM card is extended when it is topped up.
Coverage: Ooredoo seems to provide the most extensive coverage in Qatar. If sticking to Doha or the other built-up areas, there should be no problems with coverage.
Roaming an Ooredoo SIM card to another country starts at 100 QAR for 1 week, including 100 mins of calls to any country and 1GB of data. This roaming passport should be purchased before departure. As far as I can tell, Ooredoo roaming passport is available in most countries.
Part 2: Buying a Vodafone SIM card (after leaving the airport)
Vodafone typically offers better value than Ooredoo, and can be a good option if staying a month or more in Qatar.
Vodafone SIM cards start at 35 QAR (including 35 QAR of credit) and can be purchased in small stores and many malls dotted around Doha, including:
- Villagio Mall (generally open 9am to 10pm, with reduced hours on Fridays)
- Landmark Mall (similar hours as above, with extended hours on Saturdays)
- Doha City Center (10am to 10pm with reduced Friday hours)
Data can be added by dialling the codes included with the SIM, some of the costs are:
- 300mb + 450mb bonus for 10 QAR, lasts for 3 days
- 1GB + 1GB bonus for 30 QAR, lasts for 14 days
- 4GB + 2GB bonus for 80 QAR, lasts for 28 days
Bonus data typically only lasts 8 days.
Local calls are charged using ”flex”. Recharges are purchased as flex and then can be spent on calls (and data). Local calls cost 1 flex per minute; flex costs include:
- 30 flex for 5 QAR with 1 day validity
- 225 flex for 30 QAR with 14 day validity
- 500 flex for 60 QAR with 30 day validity
I prefer to stick with data and make calls using apps. If interested in how to save money on how to travel the world and save on international and local call costs, check out my guide here: https://landinglastminute.com/calling-while-travelling-guide/
International calls are charged in flex or in bundles to select countries. Example call costs are:
- UK, USA, France: 5 flex per minute
- China: 10 flex per minute
- India: 1 flex per minute
Select countries that have bundle minutes include India, Philippines, Thailand, Pakistan, and many others. Minute bundles start from 5 QAR for 30 minutes.
Recharging Vodafone prepaid SIM cards is done by adding credit to the card and then dialing codes to add packages.
Coverage doesn’t seem as great as Ooredoo, though should work fine in Doha and the other major population centres.
Roaming a Vodafone SIM card to another country costs 100 QAR per week and that includes 100 minutes of calls and 1GB of data. This is comparable with the Ooredoo offer, and I find it can offer great value to countries where local SIM cards are expensive (such as Canada). Over 100 countries are included in this plan.
Identification Requirements for buying a SIM card in Doha
Identification is required to purchase a SIM card in Doha, and anywhere else in Qatar3. For foreigners, this means providing passport information; residents provide their Qatari ID. I’ve heard only 2 SIM cards can be registered per foreigner/passport, though I’ve never experienced this myself.
Part 3: Roaming a foreign SIM card into Doha
I felt the SIM cards were a little expensive if arriving in Doha, so I took a look at what other options were available for visitors from select countries:
Visitors from the UK:
- EE costs £20 for 250mb with 7 day validity4
- Vodafone costs £6 per day to use your UK allowances (pay-monthly plans only, pre-pay plans are charged per megabyte/call)5
- GiffGaff, charges are per megabyte/call - pick up a SIM card in Doha
- Three also charges per megabyte/call
Visitors from the USA:
- AT&T includes Qatar in their monthly passport plans starting from $70 per month6
- T-Mobile includes unlimited 2G data and text on plans that have Simple Global, otherwise it’s $15 per megabyte! (pick up a local SIM card in Doha)7
Canadians should buy a local SIM card in Doha, I couldn’t find any good deals to roam Canadian SIM cards into Doha.
Australians on Optus and Vodafone should buy a local SIM card in Doha - these providers only have expensive pay-as-you-go roaming rates. For Telstra customers, Qatar falls within the $10 per day roaming zone, which includes 200mb of data8.
Singaporeans can roam with Singtel (from $40 for 3GB)9, Starhub (from $40 for 2GB)10, or M1 (which I think costs $50)11.
Wi-Fi at Doha Airport
Free Wi-Fi is available throughout Doha airport. Connect to
HIAQatar Complimentary WiFi and sign in to get started.
I’ve used a lot of terms in this guide that not everyone is familiar with. Words such as roaming and SIM card can be confusing, especially for people who don’t deal with this sort of thing often. To help clear up some of this conclusion, I put together an explanation of terms, click here to find out what roaming is: https://landinglastminute.com/travel-glossary#roaming
GSMA report on countries that require identification for SIM cards↩
Vodafone UK roaming prices for Qatar↩
T-Mobile roaming prices for Qatar↩
Written by Chris who travels frequently for work and understands what it can be like to arrive somewhere new and unfamiliar.
I wrote Landing Last Minute to help the hurried traveler get necessary information about any destination.