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dg7feq (Offline)
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Default Thailand report - 11-10-2009, 12:43

On my recent trip to Thailand i tested out SIM cards from all operators. Here are my experiences:

1) true:
true is the newest mobile operator. It had a booth right at the exit of the arrivals gate in the airport and a huge promotion for their "InterSIM" which i bought right away. The card cost 1 Euro and comes with a small starter balance. Each recharge gives you 1 year of validity for the card.
International calls to most landlines around the globe cost 1 baht/min (approx 2 euro-cent per minute). The call quality is mostly good - if you have problems to connect trough peak times dont use the 00600 dial prefix but dial directly with +xxx. This cost 3 baht/min but quality is better.
Internet is widely available with true WiFi, if you request a login by SMS from the true SIM card it costs 29 baht for 24 hours (about 60ct) - how it works is explained if you connect to the Wifi and have a look on the start page. They always have new promos as well so its worth to check back sometimes. With the SIM card itself GPRS is available for 1 baht/min, EDGE is rare and not very fast.

2) DTAC
DTAC is the 2nd largest operator. I purchased a prepaid starter kit for 2 euro including 1 euro balance and only used it for internet (5 hours for 1 Euro). EDGE is available nearly everywhere in the country and the speed is good - mostly about 100-150kbps effective surfing speed.

3) AIS
AIS, the largest operator had promotion booths in several malls for their "NetSIM". So i purchased one for 4 Euro which comes with 30 hours of free internet in the first month, from the 2nd month its 2 euro for 30 hours (can be upgraded to 60, 120 or 180 hours).
EDGE is available nationwide but the speeds are noticeably slower than on DTAC in urban areas. On the countryside AIS was fast as well.

The coverage for all operators was excellent. Even on the smallest network (true) it is very hard to find a place without coverage.

Hope this is useful for your upcoming trips.

Chris


Germany: o2 blue all-in L, simquadrat
Thailand: truemove (phone+sms+wifi)
International: xxSim+372, toggle +44/+49/+41/+31
Phones: Huawei Mate7, Huawei P9
   
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DRNewcomb (Offline)
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Default 14-10-2009, 14:12

Were there any issues with having to register your phones and pay a registration tax? This used to be an issue in Thailand.
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VladS (Offline)
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Default 14-10-2009, 15:00

The registration requirement was eliminated a few years ago across all operators.


VladS
Mobile phones: iPhone 5, Blackberry 9900, Nexus S, Samsung S3322 duos
Mobile data cards: Huawei E587u-5, Huawei E583c, Huawei E160
Postpaid SIMs: CA: Fido, Wind; INTL: Telna
Prepaid SIMs: DE: Fonic, Lidl; AT: yesss!, bob; UK: O2; US: AT&T; RO: Orange, Vodafone; FR: b&you, Lycamobile; NL: Lycamobile; BE: Lycamobile, Jim Mobile; CL: Entel; MX: Telcel; INTL: eKit Blue, eKit Yellow
Dead SIMs: too many to list
   
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dg7feq (Offline)
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Default 14-10-2009, 15:24

no, nothing at all. Just buy cash and go.


Germany: o2 blue all-in L, simquadrat
Thailand: truemove (phone+sms+wifi)
International: xxSim+372, toggle +44/+49/+41/+31
Phones: Huawei Mate7, Huawei P9
   
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SIMCollector (Offline)
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Default 17-10-2009, 03:44

There use to be a requirement to provide your identity when buying a SIM - there may well still be. This came about as a result of remotely triggered (motorbike) bombs using mobile phones, predominantly in the troubled three southern most states of Thailand. It may have also had something to do with the then prime minister - Thaksin Shinawatra - having a big interest in AIS, one of the main Thai mobile operators. Collecting more information about your users is useful in many ways...

Also is seems that DTAC, prepaid is called Happy, is the most foreigner friendly of the Thai mobile operators. They even have a slogan "You don't have to be Thai", which is most unusual for a company in Thailand. I guess it shows that DTAC is not really a Thai company. If you want to you can get a post paid SIM with DTAC, which you can keep alive by making online top-ups with your credit card. They have had some very good promotions. I use to be on a promotion Zero, which cost nothing - I only paid for what I used. Now that stopped I moved onto a special promotion which is costing me about 50 baht a month.

A benefot for all DTAC customers is having an online account. With this you can send 50 sms to other DTAC / Happy users per month free. Some where on the DTAC/Happy website there is a short code you can type in to find out if a particular no is on the DTAC/Happy network - you can even find out if the user is in a particular region ! And this works when you are roaming too.

Registration for roaming with Happy was/is free and can be enabled from your online account. I'm not sure now for postpaid. I had to pay quite a bit to have it enabled 4 years ago - still it has been worth it.

For pre-paid longevity it is best to get a Happy "Simple" promotion SIM. With these any top-up will extend the life for 1 year. Currently this promotion is on till the end of march 2010. This has been around for 3+ years and they have been extending the life of the promotion every 6 or so months. The "Simple" promotion doesnt give the cheapest calls, but you can change promotions. For the 1 year longevity combined with cheaper calls there is a promotion for North Eastern (Isaan) people. If your in Isaan or if you have some evidence of an address in Isaan then you may be able to get one of these. You may be able to get one anyway. Like a lot of things in Thailand, if you keep on trying you will get it eventually !

There is also a way of buying extended life for your SIM. Its not a lot - something like 12 baht for 3 months or 24 for 6 months. It is possible to buy extra time for up to 1 year. This is good if you want to keep your sim alive but your out of Thailand.

With a post paid sim and the online account, it is possible to transfer credit to a pre-paid user. I havent done this yet, but I guess it would count as a typical top-up and would extend the life of the sim accordingly.

The DTAC / Happy call centre have good english speakers during the Thai working day. Out of thai working hours it is not so good. The main DTAC customer service centres in Bangkok are very nice and very helpful. English is well spoken there.

My advice would be to not buy a SIM as soon as you enter Thailand as you will not get the real / best price. Check the websites first to know what you want and go to one of the companies actual customer service places and buy there. You will get the actual price and have the best possible selection.

Occasionally, you may find some very good deals on the street. Often these are people who just have a bag and no or a very little stall. You will be able to tell the offer is good as there will be many thai people all around and it will look somewhat unusual. I've had a few deals like this. Typically they are sims that have already been activated, as they were close to their expiry date. I beleive that any of the traders that buy sims may not be able to return them to the mobile co for a refund, so have to sell them to get something back.

Be wary in the big mobile phone malls, like MBK (Mah Boon Khrong) and Pantip Plaza. Don't buy from the first trader you see. Go ask a few then make your mind up. Cheating foreigners (and locals) is an accepted and often used practice.

I've got some links to the DTAC/Happy sites I can post if your interested...

I haven't used AIS or TOT. I have used DTAC/Happy, 3 and True Move. When I used 3 they only had a CDMA network and I'm not sure if they had a roaming agreement with the GSM network. Anyway, the Moto CDMA phone I had was ok, but often didn't have a strong signal. However, this was 4 years ago, so things may well have changed since then.

Also, most of the Thai banks will now allow you to top-up mobile phones now through their online services.

Hope that all helps.

Just dug a few things out that may be of interest :

DTAC Happy Shortcodes - works when roaming

Find out which promotion on
*103*9#

Check no is on DTAC network
*102*<10 digits tel no>#

Check if no is in Isaan region
*102*1*<10 digits tel no>#

Also the Simple promotion can be found at :

::Happy - *1003 Promotion Center::

Happy price plans

::Happy - *1003 Promotion Center::

Also just checked the page for getting a post paid account :

dtac - feel goood

Seems they're not using the slogan "You dont have to be Thai" any more - no surprise there. I'm surprised it actually got used in the first place ! This explains what you need to get a post paid account and what to bring. It doesn't state any requirement to have a Non-Immigrant Visa (a visa that allows you to stay for up to 90 days at a time and with a multiple entry visa may be used to stay in Thailand for up to 15 months). But if you do want a long stay visa, the Thai Embassies and Consulates are now providing Single Entry tourist visas free of charge I beleive. For the latest visa info and lots of other stuff see : Thaivisa.com - Home or TeakDoor: The Thailand Forum

Last edited by SIMCollector; 17-10-2009 at 04:10..
   
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djmonsi (Offline)
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Default 17-10-2009, 06:58

Do AIS have international roaming like DTAC? I got a happy sim and its fine .Norway's Telenor group has the major share in DTAC. Recently Telenor has aquired business in Indian with a major share in Unitech Wireless and has re-branded into uninor!
   
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dg7feq (Offline)
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Default 17-10-2009, 11:53

Quote:
Originally Posted by djmonsi View Post
Do AIS have international roaming like DTAC? I got a happy sim and its fine .Norway's Telenor group has the major share in DTAC. Recently Telenor has aquired business in Indian with a major share in Unitech Wireless and has re-branded into uninor!
Yes, prepaid cards from all operators have roaming - but you have to activate it via the hotline before leaving thailand sometimes. Sometimes it did work right away with some cards. Dont know what the difference was between there cards, all of them had the same tariff


Germany: o2 blue all-in L, simquadrat
Thailand: truemove (phone+sms+wifi)
International: xxSim+372, toggle +44/+49/+41/+31
Phones: Huawei Mate7, Huawei P9
   
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SIMCollector (Offline)
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Default 17-10-2009, 17:43

Quote:
Originally Posted by djmonsi View Post
Do AIS have international roaming like DTAC? I got a happy sim and its fine .Norway's Telenor group has the major share in DTAC. Recently Telenor has aquired business in Indian with a major share in Unitech Wireless and has re-branded into uninor!
Yep Telenor holds an indirect position in DTAC ( Telenor - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia ). The senior people in DTAC are predominantly foreigners and have Scandanavian looking names. I think they have interests in quite a few of the operators in the SEA region. Or some other co does. There is actually a Happy Pre-paid brand in Malaysia, which I dont have. And there is a way if transferring credit from some/one of the Malaysian pre-paid operators to operators in several of the SEA countries and India, I recall. But I'm not ceratin if Telenor is behind this. I think it is either Happy or Digi in Malaysi that has the details on their website. This came about in Malaysia as there are many expats from Asian countries working in Malaysia and it enables them to fund their families to call them, if they need to.

Hah - just did a search and Digi and Happy in Malaysia are the same company :

Telenor - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

More details here :

DTAC - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Last edited by SIMCollector; 17-10-2009 at 17:49..
   
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djmonsi (Offline)
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Default 18-10-2009, 12:02

I guess you talking about the Bridge alliance members. Bridge Alliance.
   
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SIMCollector (Offline)
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Default 18-10-2009, 21:32

Quote:
Originally Posted by djmonsi View Post
I guess you talking about the Bridge alliance members. Bridge Alliance.
It looks like that is so, but I don't have any sims from the providers in the Bridge alliance - which makes me think that there may be some other arrangement or Digi in Malaysia may have some way of being able to transfer credit to other bridge alliance members. Then again I could be completely wrong and it was from one of the Malaysian online banks I saw the ability to transfer credit to several countries pre-paid sims via the bridge alliance. I need to check my records, but I'm pretty sure that the credit could come from Digi in Malaysia, which doesn't appear to me a Bridge Alliance member.

Anyway, given AIS Thailand *are* a bridge alliance member it may be possible to keep an AIS sim alive with transfers from one of the other Bridge Alliance member sims ? This would be interesting to know for me as keeping a sim alive in a country you are not normally resident in is one of the challenges of having the sim. Perhaps Optus or Singtel would allow prepaid sim account holders to credit their accounts with any countries credit card then credit added there could be transferred to one of the other bridge alliance sims to keep that alive, where they would not directly allow purchase of credit with a credit card from outside of the country concerned.

Look forward to the repiles...
   
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