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Saturday, November 27, 2021

Everything you need to know about keeping your mobile number while switching providers



Qatar residents now have the ability to switch mobile phone providers from Qtel to Vodafone or vice versa while retaining their numbers, ictQatar has announced.

The number portability service, which has been years in the making, officially took effect on Jan. 31, and has been hailed by the government as a way to increase competition and improve services for consumers here.

But neither telecom provider has been eager to publicize the service on their websites or social media channels, and only a handful of shops are equipped to provide it so far.

The process

To switch to Qtel or Vodafone, visit the companies’ shops in Landmark or City Center mall. UPDATE: All Qtel shops now provide MNP services.

The process for both providers is the same: Visit a branch office to fill out an application and send an SMS to 151 with the word “SWITCH.” Both must be done within 24 hours of each other.

For Qtel, there is no charge to switch and you be will be provided a free SIM card. The switch will take place within 48 hours. Find more information here.


You can switch between the providers as often as you’d like, but keep these caveats in mind, as this is not a straightforward procedure:

  • The phone number must be in your name, or it cannot be switched.
  • You’ll need your Qatar ID or passport when filing the application.
  • You cannot transfer any unused credit or other allowances between providers.
  • You will lose your voicemail messages.
  • Make sure to save contacts to your phone before switching SIM cards.
  • You must pay your last issued bill to Vodafone or Qtel before switching. Any payments not settled within 30 days will require the competitor to bar you from using its services.

One more helpful tip: It costs more to call someone who doesn’t use the same service provider as you.

So to check whether a mobile number belongs to Qtel or Vodafone, send an SMS to 167, including the mobile number you want to inquire about (but without the country code), ie 12345678. You will receive an SMS explaining which network the number is on.

Who’s planning to do this?


Credit: Photo by Mauricio Santana

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