Uswitch: Football fans could spend £969 on roaming fees for a week at the World Cup

Megan Robinson
November 10, 2022

Over a million football fans are expected to go to Qatar for the World Cup in November

Football fans travelling to Qatar for the World Cup could spend £969 in a week by using their phone abroad, according to

Qatar has one of the world’s highest mobile roaming fees in the world, but of the UK’s major providers, Vodafone is the only one who includes this in its standard international bundle for data, calls and texts.

Most providers use the £45 worldwide cap on data roaming as a monthly limit for data, but there isn’t currently a cap on texts or calls for many networks.

Of the four major providers, O2 is the most expensive, followed by Three, EE and Vodafone respectively.

The table below shows how each provider charges for data, calls and texts over a week.

Network Price per MB Usage beforedata cap Charges for calls/min  Charges for texts Total cost for 1 week trip[1]
iD Mobile £9.60 4.7MB £6 £1.20 £969
Virgin Mobile £5 9MB £5 £0.60 £787
Lebara Mobile £14.99 2.8MB[i] £3.49 £0.49 £564.90
EE £0.045[ii] 985MB £2.05 £0.67 £378.90
O2 £7.20 6.25MB £2 £0.50 £360
Three £6 7.5MB £2 £0.35 £349.50
Tesco Mobile £5 9MB[iii] £1.49 £0.40 £276.60
Asda Mobile £1 45MB £1.40 £0.20 £255
SMARTY £0.25 180MB £1 £0.40 £213
giffgaff £0.20 225MB £1 £0.30 £206
Sky Mobile £0.36 125MB £0.72 £0.14 £155.60
Vodafone Part of bundle[iv] Part of bundle Part of bundle Part of bundle £42

Source:; Based on a week’s trip using 1GB a day of mobile data, 20 minutes of calls per day and sending 10 texts per day.

Advice on roaming

UK visitors can access free Wi-Fi in many public areas in Qatar, but it is advised they should use a Hayya card which is a form of ID for overseas fans during the tournament.

This will allow them to get a free pre-paid SIM valid for three days which includes 2GB data, 2,022 local texts and 2,022 local calls and can be topped up during their stay.

Catherine Hiley, mobiles expert at, comments: “Before you go to the tournament, make sure you know what your network will charge while you’re out there for calls, data and texts. With the majority of providers not including Middle Eastern countries in their standard roaming packages, the charges for mobile data can be severe. So it’s worth turning roaming off on your smartphone for the duration of your stay.

“Download any World Cup apps or maps before you leave the UK, as well as any films, shows and music you might want while there, so you don’t have to rely on finding a secure Wi-Fi connection in Qatar.

“If you want to contact people back home, it’s better to use a messenger app when you’re online, rather than paying expensive call costs. And, if you’re attending the World Cup with friends, consider setting up a group on a service like WhatsApp. This will give you an easy way of keeping in touch without resorting to texts.”

About the Author

Share this article