If you’re trip planning for the upcoming World Cup in Doha, Qatar, it’s worth knowing about the quality of the country’s internet connection. Qatar Doha is known to be quite unstable and expensive. Considering you’ll need your phone for maps, route planning, and possibly even tickets, a speedy connection is a must.
In this article, we’ll suggest how to factor Qatar’s internet connectivity into your trip planning, and how to get around potential issues.
Qatar has 2 network providers for cellular data. These are Vodafone and Ooredoo. As you might know if you’ve traveled before, being on Vodafone in your home country doesn’t provide any benefits for internet connection in other countries.
You can connect to both as soon as you step off your plane at the airport. However, the internet connection is unstable, compared to what you’re used to at least. Using automatic connection settings on your phone will theoretically mean you always have the best signal, but you can still expect slow speeds and potential drop-outs.
The best option for tourists who want a reliable internet connection while in Doha is a Textr eSIM. You can set up an eSIM while you’re at Doha airport (either using cellular data or Wi-Fi). The cell carrier reception is pretty good at the airport, so your download speeds shouldn’t be affected. Then, just set up the eSIM as normal for decent connectivity and internet connection speeds.
If you’re still trip planning for the World Cup, you’ll probably find that most of the best flights are fully booked. As such, you should expect to have at least one transfer on your journey. Depending on where you’re traveling from, this’ll likely be somewhere in the Middle East.
Textr’s eSIM plan covers 8 Middle East countries and all European countries, making 47 in total. This means you can enjoy an internet connection while traveling in all 47 countries at the same speed as locals. Of course, if the local internet connection is unstable, you’ll actually have better internet! It’s worth mentioning, too, that roaming isn’t charged on Textr’s plan.
If you’re flying to Doha, the chances are high that you’ll be using Qatar Airways. Always make sure you check Qatar Airways flight status before you travel, and expect some delays when going through passport control. This is standard for almost any airport, but remember there will be a lot of other World Cup fans there at the same time.
Take, for example, this review of Qatar Airways on TripAdvisor. The reviewer states that they’ve flown on a Qatar Airways flight many times, and there’s always a delay. If you’re flying into Qatar, it won’t be as big an issue as it would be for connecting flights. Just make sure you factor potential Qatar Airways flight delays into things like airport pickup and hotel check-in times.
When you’re at home, you generally use less data because you probably have access to Wi-Fi in your home, place of work, and your favorite café. This obviously isn’t the case when you’re traveling, and you must consider relying more on your phone for maps and tickets.
The amount of data you’ll need for 1 week can vary based on many factors, but 1GB is a good place to start. This can get you, for example, 130 minutes of video calling. Luckily, apps like Google Maps are surprisingly light on their data usage. It typically uses 3-5MB an hour.
Considering this is probably what you’ll need data for the most (aside from uploading soccer videos to social media), 1GB should be a good start. But Textr offers different levels of data plans, so you should easily find one that suits your needs.
Qatar has worked on improving its national internet infrastructure in recent years. However, its internet connection is unstable, especially compared to European and American countries where networks are far more established.
There are thankfully quite a few public areas where you can pick up free Wi-Fi to supplement your data plan. These include:
Outside of these locations, and likely restaurants, you’ll basically need your own internet connection. Even if somewhere offers free public Wi-Fi (such as the parks and cafes), the internet connection is rated “very slow” and “poor”. While it’ll help if you’re stuck, you shouldn’t expect much from it in these areas.
Getting to the stadium is a process that could present an issue for some people. Using your data plan, search “Qatar horario” for the most recent schedules. This should also help you find public transport if you need it, and will tell you which stadium you need to go to.
Be aware that the stadiums will be packed with people. Specifically, it could be anywhere from 40,000 to 60,000 people. If you’ve ever tried accessing your phone somewhere busy, you’ll know the impact it has on your internet connection. Everyone will be linked to the same cellphone tower, and this massively slows down speeds.
Work on the basis that your internet connection is unstable as soon as you get within a mile or so of the stadium. To avoid any issues, download an offline map at your Qatar hotel and choose a secure and stable transit method (such as a shuttle bus or taxi). Make sure you spend some time familiarizing yourself with the local area before you travel, too.
The same goes for finding World Cup merch, although the stores probably won’t be as busy! Factor the store locations into your trip planning, and they should be easy to find from your Qatar hotel.
If you’re planning to do a bit more with your time in Doha and plan to step away from your Qatar hotel, why not try camping? Camping in the desert is a common thing in Qatar, and you don’t even need to give up a good internet connection when doing so!
Ooredoo announced a few years ago that it’s rolling out 5G networks across Qatar’s deserts. It offers speeds of up to 2Gb, so you can continue streaming and playing games, even when you’re nowhere near a city!
Unsurprisingly, there’s plenty to do when you go camping in the Qatari desert. Why not try camping while you’re there once you’ve been to your favorite soccer matches?
There’s plenty to do in Doha while you’re waiting for the next match to start. Try fitting in some sightseeing where you can, as you won’t want to miss these great places around the city:
As you can see, most of the main tourist locations in Doha are markets. There are obviously other things to see, but markets are always good fun when you’re on vacation because they allow you to experience real life in a city. Just grab your phone and make sure you have a good internet connection to set you up for finding some bargains!
If you’re flying on Qatar Airways to Doha, you should consider extending your trip to Dubai. It’s arguably far more famous than Qatar, but its larger tourist trade means there’s plenty to see and do there.
Plus, you can get a Doha to Dubai flight for as little as $30 from Hamad International. Make sure you buy your Dubai plane tickets in advance if you want to get the best prices, although even buying them at the airport won’t be too expensive.
You can also get a train from Doha to Dubai if you want to stay on the ground. The train is the 142, which is the only rail connection between the countries. However, trains are fairly regular. You could also drive from Doha to Dubai if you brought a car on vacation.
Dubai is arguably a better location for a vacation because it has a well-established tourist industry. That said, Doha is cheaper and will still give you plenty to do. If you can, go to both because each has its own advantages.
In terms of what to do in Dubai, some options include:
One major benefit of going to Dubai is that it has much better internet connection speeds. In fact, the UAE (which contains Dubai), is ranked 3rd in the world for internet speed and stability.
Although nothing is stopping you from choosing a SIM card from a local carrier when you arrive in Doha, an eSIM presents a more convenient option.
or starters, not having a physical SIM card means you can enjoy all the benefits of a local internet connection without being locked into one carrier. To change between Vodafone and Ooredoo, you’d need 2 SIM cards. But with an eSIM, you can just change plans whenever you need to!
Even the largest provider in Qatar, Ooredoo, experiences internet connection problems. With an event as large as the World Cup, you could expect regular delays with your internet speeds. After all, Qatar’s data network isn’t built for an extra few million visitors in such a short space of time.
Granted, you don’t have loads of options for data providers in the country. In fact, as mentioned, it’s only 2: Vodafone and Ooredoo. However, setting up an eSIM on your phone means you can choose whichever provider offers the best options at the time, giving you much greater flexibility. So, try Textr’s eSIM for your Doha trip to see how much easier it’ll make things.
It’s important to get a reliable data plan for your time in Qatar Doha during the World Cup. Among other things, it’ll help you get accurate and up-to-date information about travel, weather, and news during your stay.
So, sign up to Textr eSIM and get ready for its launch in November. This’ll give you more than enough time to download the app and get everything set up before you travel!