Practical Life in Doha

Mobile Phone in Doha

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Qatar adheres to GSM (Global Standard Mobile). Mobile phones are fairly inexpensive in Qatars and basic models can be purchased for QR 120. iPhones cost 3,000 to 4,000 QR in Qatar, while other smart phones cost QR 3,000+.

You can purchase mobile phones in shopping malls, souqs, and from street-level shops throughout the city. You can also purchase mobile phones directly from providers Ooredoo and Vodafone.

To obtain a SIM card from Ooredoo you must present a copy of your passport or ID at a Ooredoo shop, and you must be over 18. You can also get a SIM card from Vodafone in their Welcome Packs.

It is illegal to use your mobile phone while driving in Qatar (although most people do anyway).

Mobile Phone Providers in Doha

Ooredoo (formerly known as Qatar Telecom or Qtel) and Vodafone are the major mobile phone providers in Qatar. Ooredoo is the local provider, while Vodafone is an international company. Both Ooredoo and Vodafone do not offer full coverage in Qatar.

Ooredoo numbers start with a 5 or 3, while Vodafone numbers start with a 7. You can also purchase the phone number of your choice in Qatar, for a fee.

Calls between Vodafone numbers are generally free.

Mobile Phone Contracts in Qatar

To sign up for a mobile contract in Qatar you will need to present a copy of your passport or ID card and your Qatar Residence Permit.

Ooredoo charges a QR 50 connection fee, charged to your first bill. Minimum contract periods with Ooredoo are three months. Ooredoo's standard contract is called Shary, and varies from QR 55 to QR 750 per month, depending on your service level. You can also bundle Internet, landline and mobile phones into one contract through Ooredoo.

Vodafone's contracts vary from QR 100 to QR 750 monthly.

There are some basic points you need to consider for choosing the right deal.

  • Personal Use: Evaluate how much you use the phone, when, where you are calling, how often you use short message services (SMS), if you use the phone abroad, etc. Do you mostly call family and friends? If so, you might consider a contract with free calling to several numbers.
  • Coverage: Most important if you live in a remote place or regularly using the mobile while traveling in the countryside as most companies offer decent coverage.
  • Fees & Rates: Each operator offers several different plans and options. Investigate the plans carefully and evaluate your needs. Both Vodafone and Ooredoo offer regular promotions and deals.

Pay As You Go

Most people in Qatar pay for their phone usage with pre-paid Hala cards (through provider Ooredoo), which you can purchase in denominations of QR 30, QR 50 and QR 100. You scratch the back of the card to reveal a code at the back. Dial 127 followed by this code and the hash key (#) to top-up your mobile. Similar 'Red' pre-paid cards can be purchased through Vodafone.

Related article: Landline phone in Qatar

Update 1/10/2013


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