4G wifi on the beach

How To Be Online Anywhere In Thailand

According to a report released by the digital marketing firm “We Are Social” there are 97 million registered mobile phone connections in Thailand, of which 75% are broadband (3G or 4G) enabled. The number of active mobile internet users currently stands at 17.7 million, or around 27% of the entire population and the average Thai (with mobile internet connectivity) spends just under 4 hours every day online. As internet capable smartphones are becoming more and more available in Thailand the demand is insatiable.

From experience, I would say the 3G internet services offered by operators in Thailand are fairly decent when compared to others nearby and most Western countries. During my first few months in Thailand I relied solely on a prepaid 3G mobile internet package offered by AIS 3G.

The basic 500 baht/month package got me unlimited speeds with a 1Gb data limit. A nice feature was that even if I exceeded the 1Gb threshold, browsing would still be possible (albeit unbearably slow). Still fast enough for social media & email apps though so not completely useless. It’s convenient and reliable, with quick access wherever there’s mobile reception and I found it especially handy on whilst travelling on ferries or overland.

A 1Gb data limit is however no match for browsing “full” websites (tethering a laptop to your phone and using its 3G connection). I tethered my laptop to my phone on a couple of occasions for work purposes when up in Isaan and soon used up my whole data package. I was then restricted to buying 150Mb “top-ups” at 150 baht each until the month rolled over and my phone was billed another 500 baht, quite expensive when it all adds up!. An alternative had to be found and it came in the form of AIS 3G’s “Pocket Wifi” device.

The “Pocket Wifi” device is a simple 3G modem and provides you with your very own private WiFi connection wherever you are (granted there’s a strong enough mobile phone signal). The device comes in 2 speeds & I opted for 21.6Mbs, more than enough for checking emails, browsing and light streaming. This came at a price of 1,600 baht and I chose the prepaid (1-2-Call! SIM) version. Like the prepaid 3G internet, you have a choice of multiple monthly data plans and I opted for 4 GB for 400 baht/month, more than enough for emails, browsing and some light streaming. Set up was quick and simple, all done in-store and I had the device up and running within minutes.

In the long run, if you intend on travelling and need constant access to the internet then a portable 3G modem is the way to go. You could get by with prepaid mobile internet but when tethering your phone to your laptop, the 3G modem is definitely more cost effective. 3G internet in Thailand has been made to cater to the masses, and without a doubt its main use here is social media. This means it’s cheap to connect to, but expensive (compared to a fixed WiFi connection) if you want to use it for much else. All in all I’d say I’m fairly satisfied with the quality of mobile internet available in Thailand. Mobile phone signal can be found virtually anywhere and it works in a pinch, albeit considerably more expensive than a WiFi connection. If you’re going to stay put in a place for a while, you might want to re consider 3G as your primary internet source but it may quickly become your best friend if you’re travelling around.

How to get AIS Super Wifi on 802.11ac

AIS has launched a new Wifi service branded with the name AIS Super Wifi which is showing up around Bangkok and Thailand.  This new service operators on the Wireless AC Technology (IEEE802.11ac).    802.11ac has a throughput of at least 1 gigabit per second and a single link throughput of at least 500 megabits per second (500 Mbit/s).  This new standard is about 3x faster than the previous standard, 802.11n.

In real world speeds recorded in testing are around 720Mbps (90MBps) for 802.11ac. By contrast 802.11n tops out at about 240Mbps (30MBps).  AIS advertises speeds of 650 Mbps, which is nice as companies usually state the theoretical speeds as the real speeds a user could get.

Other benefits: 802.11ac has stronger, more directed range and is better on your battery because WiFi needs to be active for less time when data transfers can complete more quickly.

ais super wifi

Which devices can use it?

802.11ac is being built into any quality device made today, like iPhone 6, but iPhone 5 and older does not have the AC chip.  Samsung S4 has the chip but S3 does not. For more on devices with 802.11ac check this list.


ais 3g wifi passwordHow can I get it?

First you have to be in range of an AIS hotspot.  You will see something like .@ AIS SUPER WiFi as a hotspot name.  Then, you have to be a user of the iSmart 3G data package of 500 Baht or more per month to have free access.   If you are just dial *338*1# to get your wifi password via SMS.   If you’re not a iSmart package user you can get this package: 20GB for 99 Baht (not incl VAT) by dialing *777*384#.

If you just want the Wifi and if you don’t want those packages or want to switch a package, you can get AIS Super Wifi for 99 Baht/month by dialing *388*40#.  This is the stand alone package, you can add to your existing  service.

For those who have never before registered for AIS WiFi service :

  1. Choose the @ AISwifi network and then login using your User Name and Password. You will be automatically logged in through WiFi Auto Login.
  2. Then, return to .@ AIS SUPER WiFi so your smart phone or device will automatically remember the network to login automatically.

For AIS WiFi users

  1. Select .@ AIS SUPER WiFi so your smart phone or device will automatically remember the network to login automatically.


Where is it?

AIS wifi is mostly in big public places like malls and airports.  Best you find that it fits into your day to day schedule before considering to spend the money on it.  If you are a user already, then it’s quite easy to start using.


Speed tests at Emporium


speed test ais wifi
In Thailand:
speed test ais wifi 802.11ac

 A video showing the speed in a controlled environment



New mobile topup credit service

MobileTopup.com has just launched in beta and users can now go and try out the new online top up service here.

The features of the new mobile credit service are:

  • Flat fee is  4% – 200 Baht of credit will cost you 208 Baht.
  • Automatic reoccurring monthly billing
  • Top up amounts are 50 – 800 Baht
  • Use of the newest and easiest Thai Baht credit card processor
  • Support for True Move, DTAC Happy and AIS 12Call PAYG

The beta is Facebook sign in only, and credit cards or local bank visa / master ATM cards are the payment method.

The recurring monthly billing is quite interesting since one of the pain points of pre-paid is having to top up.  With recurring billing turned on, you send a fixed amount each month, and the means no more trips to 7-11 or entering top up codes.   Of course unlink giving the carrier your credit card where they bill you any amount, here you’ll be limited to fixed amounts each month.   As people move to data only voice plan this, should be just fine.







AIS launches prepaid sub-brand called YOU!

YOU! MOBILEAs if you don’t hear “YOU! YOU! YOU!” enough in Thailand, AIS has now launched a prepaid service under the YOU! brand name.  The service launches with an app and website with a goal of allowing users to manage aspects of their accounts online.   This covers things like checking and changing your data or calling package, usage history or points.   Additionally you can do some forms of credit card payment with select Visa and Mastercards.

While many of these services have been a part of any 12Call user’s online account for some time, it seems that it’s time for a new brand and of course brand mascot.


YOU! Account

The main goal of the service and site is to get prepaid users to easily choose and change data and calling packages.  With their fancy selector, you can choose your monthly payment amount and then choose how much 3G/4G data you want vs calling time.


YOU! MOBILE -package-change YOU!


To get a free YOU! Mobile SIM, they have an online form you can fill out.  I’ll update the post if my request is successful, but they even go so far as to let you choose your own number in addition to SIM size.  You’ll need a 13 digit ID number and signed ID copy to upload.

how to get a sim

Once you submit your request you can track the status of your order.  The website states 1 day delivery in Bangkok and 3 Day delivery around Thailand.   There is also a 50 Baht bonus once you topup up 50 Baht the first time.

YOU! MOBILE - tracking

YOU! mobile is AIS 12Call

Just to make it clear, YOU! mobile is just a sub-brand that works just like any AIS 12Call mobile does.   Besides having it’s own brand, it uses the same prepaid top up channels meaning you can top it up with and 12Call scratch card at 7-11 or at any online service like Thailand Topup, in addition to the channels offered in the app.   The for more stuff check out their facebook page.


Update:  Just got my free YOU! Sim in the mail.  Took about 5 days and was sent registered mail.  So follow the above steps if you want one too.




group calling dtac sim

New DTAC group calling tourist sim for 199 Baht

group calling dtac simA new sim from DTAC aimed at the 20 million tourists arriving yearly has a group calling plan where everyone in the group can call each other for free.  For family or friends this would make the perfect sim for all those in the group with unlocked phones.  This SIM is also good for the tech savvy callers who do all calling and texting thru 3G/4G, as there is none of the unneeded calling credit on the sim.

Like the 299 Tourist SIM, it has 7 days of free 3G/4G data.  It does not, however have the 100 Baht calling credit of the 299 Tourist Sim.  For users already comfortable with Facetime, Skype, Telegram, Whats App or other internet based chat app, it’s likely worth it over the $3 extra for the 299 Sim.

As always in Thailand, inbound calls are free, so having this Sim just to receive calls from friends and family, would be fine.   If you prefer to just use the sim for data, you can put it in a pocket wifi or 3G dongle and get your 7 days of data.

After 7 days, all bets are off, and you’re now just the owner of a plain old DTAC prepaid sim.  You still get free inbound calls, but you’ll need to topup in order to call out, and if you want to keep using the internet, you’ll need to sign up for a data package.  Fret not, this is easily done.

Airtime Credit Topup

First you’ll need credit.  If you have Paypal, head over to ThailandTopup.com for a quick and easy online recharge.  If you have Bitcoin.   If you have cash, any 7-11 or convenience store will sell topup credit.  You want to add enough to cover any of the packages.

DTAC 3G Data - Happy 3G Mobile Internet PackagesOnce you have your credit head over to dtacmobileinterent.com and find the package that best suits your needs.  There are daily, weekly, monthly packages as well as per megabyte and per time limit packages.   So if you need only 200 MB there is a package for you.

Data Package Signup

You sign up for any data package right from you phone using the USSD Keypress codes.  You’ll get a response via SMS once the package is active and your credit will be deducted.  Pro tip: Best you check your credit before and after any transaction by pressing 101*9# send.

If you’ve used the new sim, give us your thoughts below.





True Mobile only Company with Growth in 2014

Bangkok Post is reporting Thailand has a total of 94 million mobile phone subscribers on the big 3 networks, with a total of 76% of those using 3G data.  Slower growth this year is blamed on the coup and political unrest.

AIS still retains it’s lead with 15 million more subscribers than the number 2 DTAC.  Unsurprisingly True Move, which has been advertising 4G services well before their official launch, is only 5 million subscribers behind DTAC.

AIS has 19,300 3G base stations operating on the 2100-megahertz spectrum, covering 95% of population.




Using bitcoin on the iphone

By now you know what Bitcoin is, but the big trick is how you can start using it. Apple recently has lifted the ban on Bitcoin wallet apps and you can now find a Bitcoin wallets in the App Store.

While you might say “hey what’s the big deal mankind is been carrying money in their pockets for hundreds of years”, carrying virtual money in your pocket does give you some significant advantages. The main two advantages are security and your ability to send and receive money globally. While exchange costs are obscenely low when compared to other methods like credit cards, PayPal or western union, passing $100 bill to a friend still cannot be beat for its zero cost of transaction.  However once you have to mail that hundred dollar bill to your friend in Bolivia, transaction costs go thru the roof.

In looking at Bitcoin wallets on iPhone, I had a look at two apps currently in the App Store. I tried out CoinPocket and bitWallet.

CoinPocket has a nice modern clean. Interface. It requires you set a master password before using the app. Do not forget this password. . For getting paid you can generate a QR code with your Bitcoin address or send your Bitcoin address by email or message. Receiving a Bitcoin took me about five minutes. Sending it took about the same. To send the Bitcoin you’ll need the receiver’s address and also the password you set at installation.

BitWallet also has a nice clean interface. It has the ability to generate multiple Bitcoin addresses as well as copy and paste the Bitcoin address.  There is a watch lists feature that allows you to watch various BTC accounts for transactional activity.  Bit wallet also has optional wallet security, unlike CoinPocket’s mandatory password.

While both are quite similar and functional, I think after some brief use bitWallet would be my preferred choice, due to the copy and paste and a bit more sensible layout.

Here are some screens of the process with CoinPocket:

After setting your master password, you can receive BTC with your new address.


Compose email places the BTC address into an email to send to anyone.












Once you transfer in a BTC, you’ll see this



Send screen.  I found the fee calculation a pain, as you have to send .0001 BTC less than your total to account for the fee.  This should be automatic.




Send requires your password


Detailed info on the confirmations and fee.



First create a new BTC address and name it.


Then request payment into your new wallet. Copy the BTC address, send it via message or email, or another mobile user can scan the QR code.


You can see once the blockchain has seen the transaction.




Copy your BTC address any time.




dtac 4g

DTAC 4G Trials that you can join

Enjoy 4G on dtac TriNet, dtac offers 4G free trial for 4 GB for 4 months.-1DTAC has announced 4G in Thailand, is running a trial that you can try out.  To try 4G on dtac TriNet in Bangkok,  Simply dial  *2014*9# for a 4G Trial of 4 GB per month for 4 months.  This privilege is for dtac TriNet prepaid and postpaid customers who have applied an unlimited Internet package starting at 399 Baht as specified by the service provider.  4G is available in the service areas and can be enjoyed for free for 4GB/month up to 4 months.

More details:

  • Ensure TriNet is your operating network.
    If not, simply upgrade to TriNet by dialling *3000 (free).
  • Check compatibility before using 4G on dtac TriNet. Simply dial: *364*9#
  • Ensure your SIM supports 4G.
  • Ensure your phone and equipment support 4G.
    Apple: iPhone 5, iPhone 5s, iPhone 5c, iPad Air, iPad with Retina display, iPad mini, iPad mini with Retina display
    BlackBerry: Z30
    HTC: Butterfly S, One Max, One mini, One (M8), Desire 816 (coming soon)
    LG: G2, Nexus 5
    Nokia: Lumia 1020, Lumia 1520, Lumia 820, Lumia 920, Lumia 925
    Samsung: Galaxy Note 3 LTE, Galaxy S5
    i-Mobile: IQ X KEN
    Sony: Xperia V, Xperia Z1 Compact, Xperia T2 Ultra, Xperia Z2 Tablet LTE, Xperia Z2


Crowdsourced network speed testing from OpenSignal.com

Open SignalWhat’s the best way to find out the best 3G or 4G network? Let all the users using the network report back with their experience. That’s what a new company called Open Signal aims to crowd source.

How does crowd sourced 3G mapping work?

We can all help to improve their coverage maps by grabbing the Android or iPhone apps. Once installed the app pings the cellular network you’re on and report back to the Open Signal servers. By recording the speed, network, tower and GPS location, Open Signal can determine which network has the best coverage in each area. Since speeds in any given area are constantly in flux, the data you see on the site today won’t be the same in the future. Also for now, the number of people in Thailand with the app is quite small, so the network survey is limited to those using the app.

Thailand cities and their best networks

Below are links to the maps of the major cities in Thailand, the current best network and their ranking compared to worldwide averages.

  • Bangkok – TOT 3G – 17% Better than worldwide average
  • Chiang Mai – AIS   – 35% Better than worldwide average
  • Pattaya – AIS  – 15% Better than worldwide average
  • Hua Hin – DTAC – 33% Better than worldwide average
  • Phuket – DTAC – 25% Better than worldwide average
  • Hat Yai – AIS – 49% Better than worldwide average
  • Khon Kaen – True Move – 29% Better than worldwide average

Bangkok 3G map

Power of the crowd

Open Signal aims to provide visualizations and analysis based on the data collected, including cellular coverage maps that show exactly how strong signal is in any particular area, as well as all the nearby towers for your carrier. As this data comes from users with the app, the info is not quite a good representation of carriers in Thailand – yet. Looking at this map of towers, it’s clear that much more data for Thailand is still needed. bangkok cell towers The site has a goal of being the “global authority on wireless networks” and to get there they will need a large install base.

Mobile data usage tracking

The mobile app has a few nice features besides just helping with a supply of user generated data for the maps on the site. One of the nicest features of the app is the data usage display. The app keeps track of your 3G data usage as well as your Wi-Fi data usage. The good thing about this is you can keep tabs on your cellular data allowance as well as realize the whole amount of usage you put through your smartphone. They also provide a month-to-month graph to give you some data visualization ability. iphone data usage


AIS Pocket Wifi Review – ZTE MF65

The ZTE MF65 AIS version

AIS has launched a new model of pocket wifi device from ZTE (China). The device is know as the MF 65 and is a full featured 3G pocket Wifi router. The router is sold unlocked, meaning you can use it with AIS, DTAC or True Move – or any other SIM card in the world. The firmware is branded with AIS, but does not prevent you from using worldwide.

Upgrade or not

The device is narrower than the previous AIS Huawei (Pronounced “Hallway”) model, and a bit longer. Roughly the same thickness. Is it an upgrade? Well the ZTE has more features, larger battery, and at the same price point, so it’s and easy easy decision on which is better from a feature standpoint.

ZTE vs Huawei



What’s in the box

Let’s see what you get when you purchase an AIS pocket wifi.

ais pocket wifi 02-12call-pocket-wifi 03-IMG_5467 04-IMG_5469

The contents of the box include SIM card, charger, device, warranty card and English manual.  The SIM gives you some basic free usage, and then you’ll have to top up and get on one of their 3G plans.

zte mf65 battery

The battery size is 1500 mAh, larger than the previous device from Huawei which was 1150 mAh.


Normal SIM slot and Micro SD slot.  The previous Huawei had no Micro SD.

07-ztemf65-open zte mf 65

2 Buttons, 3 Lights.

09-IMG_5474 10-IMG_5476

USB wall charger and cable.


Setting up 3G on your device

To get started start up the device after putting the sim card in.   The sim card is inactive so just putting the SIM in the pocket wifi won’t activate it or start 3G.   You need to manually active the sim.

Here’s how:

1. Turn on your device and connect to the hotspot named “AIS 3G POCKET WIFI 21.6 Mbps”.  The wifi pass key is in the inside back cover.


2.  Once your computer or device is connected, in your browser go to http://m.home/index.asp  or  You will see the following screen once you click EN.

Home Screen

3. Click on “Activate SIM” in the lower left hand box.   This sends a USSD activation message to start up the SIM. This has to be done in Thailand.  To check it’s working go back to the main page  and you should see a bunch of SMS messages and as well as connected in top right.

You should now be online and surfing the interwebs.  When we activated we got about 10 SMS messages, so if your inbox fills up, you’ll know your active.


Other Features:

The home screen gives you several shortcut options.

Change Wifi Name

change wifi

Change Wifi Key

AIS 3G Pocket Wifi-6

Topup up with 12Call scratch card voucher. (From any 7-11)

top up code

SMS messages inbox

sms inbox


Advanced Menu Options

In the advanced menu you have all the device options, which are most features you’d expect to find on a full featured router, plus more.

Phonebook – Has stored numbers as well as you can add your own for SMS texting from the device.

sms phone book

SMS – Send a new message, read, reply and delete old messages.  Save on the SIM or on the device.  Settings allow you to change SMS center number and change validity.

SMS management


SD Card  – Put in a micro SD card in the device to enable.

SD Card
HTTP Share Mode:Share the SD card via the Web browser and the removable drive mapping of the SD card via USB port will be disabled.
USB Access Only:Only user via USB cable can access the SD card by the removable drive mapping, the Web page of sharing SD card will be disabled.

Once you put in the SD card you’ll see.

AIS 3G Pocket Wifi-11

AIS 3G Pocket Wifi-14

Sharing the contents looks like this.

AIS 3G Pocket Wifi-12

Settings – Full router settings

router settings

USSD – Codes for your sim card

AIS 3G Pocket Wifi-16


Status  – Check on the stats of your usage, your network and various version numbers.

AIS 3G Pocket Wifi-17 AIS 3G Pocket Wifi-18 AIS 3G Pocket Wifi-20


Using with another carrier

We put a DTAC sim in just to test and this is what we got.  No configuration needed, just put it in and it worked.

test with dtac sim



Device Specifications

  • Dimensions      102mm × 50mm × 13.7mm
  • Battery      1500mAh
  • Wi-Fi      Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n, 10 Wi-Fi connections
  • Messaging      SMS
  • OS Compatibility      Win8, Win7, Windows XP, Vista, Linux, Mac OS
  • Memory      MicroSD Slot, up to 32GB
  • Others      OLED Screen display, 3 LED light indicators, AP/STA, Multi SSID, WPS, IPv6
  • Radio      HSPA+/HSUPA/HSDPA/UMTS 2100/1900/900 (850)MHz
    EDGE/GPRS/GSM 850/900/1800/1900MHz
  • Peak Data Rate      HSPA+:DL 21.6Mbps/UL 5.76Mbps



The device is easy to use, easy to connect to, has a days battery life and should do a nice job of filling in the gaps of where you don’t have proper or working wifi in Thailand.  Given that it’s unlocked, and you can use it worldwide, it’s a device for any regular traveler.  It’s also a step up from the previous AIS pocket wifi offering.

As for battery life,  got about 4 hours of continuous usage.

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