DTAC Happy Promotion – Get 6GB of 3G data

Note: I just tested this, and it came back with a message”You are already a user.” The ad says “New and Current Subscribers” which means we now understand to mean “New and current subscribers, that have not yet signed up for a data package.”   So if you’re already using 3G on a smartphone, you’re out of luck.

Good news for DTAC Happy users.  DTAC is offering a simple promo to give you 6GB of extra FUP data over 6 months.  So really that’s an extra 1GB per month.  Still not bad for only entering the USSD code: *567*9#

What’s the catch?  Well if you don’t happen to spend 200 thb or more yet, you’ll need to.  “Customers will not receive free 1GB internet if refill amount in 2nd – 6th month is below 200 baht”   So just spend more than 200thb per month, and you’ve got an extra 1GB of download speeds.

dtac 3g promotion 1gb

 

For more, check out the DTAC site here.

roaming in thailand

Travelers cautioned about roaming charges

roaming in thailandThe Boston Globe recently had and article about traveling abroad, specifically if you are on a US carrier. From the article:

Before I left home, Verizon told me that calls would cost $1.99 a minute in Thailand and $2.89 a minute in Cambodia.

No, thanks. I’ll just text people instead. To avoid text charges, I signed up for three free services: WhatsApp, Line, and Viber. The catch is that you can text only with people who use the same service, so your contacts will also have to join.

Where international use can get expensive is in data charges.

Verizon was charging $20.48 per megabyte in either country. Just opening the Facebook app uses more than half a megabyte. Five minutes of scrolling through friends’ posts can eat up more than 10 megabytes, or more than $200. That’s before sharing a single photo. Bills can reach thousands of dollars in no time.

The author suggests keeping an eye on data charges in your smart phone or sing an app called Onavo Count.  Since the USA is still the home of carrier locked phones, the author does not hit upon the fact that a local SIM can be purchased until the end of the article.

It will probably be cheaper if you buy a phone package at your destination. Local carriers typically have shops at airports. In Thailand, the True mobile company offered 3 gigabytes for less than $35. Had I used Verizon’s plan, I probably would have needed a second or third block of data for $25 each. True gave me much more for much less. One drawback is I must use a temporary phone number, not my regular one back home.

If you go this route, turn off data roaming on your phone before you leave so you’re not inadvertently charged. Leave the phone on airplane mode until the local plan is set up. If you forget, some carriers will warn you by text, but sometimes after you’ve started accruing charges.

The catch – You need an unlocked phone to use another carrier’s SIM card.

While obvious to most, not everyone realizes you can get a cheap data package once you arrive in Thailand.  But of course to take advantage you either need your phone unlocked or travel with a pocket wifi device.

Our advice if you’re coming with a country with locked phones.

  1. Get your phone unlocked, then buy a local Thai SIM.  You now have data and voice everywhere.
  2. Buy and unlocked pocket mifi device.  You now have data everywhere.

As for getting a SIM, you can easily do that on arrival, or get one before you come on Amazon with 1 day shipping.

 

 

 

October MBK update

As MBK is one of the preeminent destinations in Asia for anything to do with mobile phones I thought it would be nice to check in every once in a while with a few photos and a few updates.

I do not make a trip to MBK so often, but it is interesting to see how the stock of phones and phone accessories changes with each visit.

The most obvious things on this trip were the new iPhones for sale and all of the extra battery charging packs.

The iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C not yet officially on sale in Thailand, but MBK is chock-full of sellers with these phones from the US, Singapore, or other destinations.

As for battery packs, they seem to come in every shape and size. Obviously when buying a battery pack your main concern should be the mAh.   For 2,300 Baht, you can pick up the 10,000 mAh pack.  Half of that power is about 1,800 Baht.

Other note able trends are some of the retro throwback phones and watches.

Here are some photos from October 2013:
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Foursquare removes photos of Doctor and Dentist offices

Dr. Work & Carlson Family Dentistry - Windsor Heights, IA

Popular location directory and check in service foursquare as quietly removed photos of doctors and dentists office from their website.  You can easily see the photos working in other categories are displaying just fine.   McDonald_s & McCafé (แมคโดนัลด์ & แมคคาเฟ่) - Suan Luang - Suan Luang, Bangkok

If you go to the photo URL of the doctor or dentist will see zero photos listed, however if you click to the right rank these photos you can start to see the photos that used to be there in the foursquare ranking game.

Photos at Pruksa Clinic - Pathum Wan - Pathum Wan, Bangkok-1

 

You can actually still see the  photos when looking at the photo ranking service foursquare has.

Photos at Pruksa Clinic - Pathum Wan - Pathum Wan, Bangkok

 

Could this be due to the legal ramifications of taking photos inside and medical clinic?

Deezer Music with DTAC

Deezer-dtac

Deezer is a new music service that allows you to choose from a library of over 20 million tracks, build playlists and listen to your favorite tunes on your smartphone.

There is now an exclusive Deezer subscription for DTAC and DTAC Happy customers: Deezer Mobile offers you unlimited access to your music, on 3G or WiFi, via your smartphone. Deezer Lite is  designed for prepaid customers.

All customers can choose Deezer Premium+ to enjoy music on the go (via your smartphone/tablet) and at home (via your PC/Mac or selected home entertainment devices, see www.deezer.com for details ).

Much like Spotify, Deezer also includes recommendations by Deezer’s own editorial team, artist information, dedicated radio stations and artist’s own suggestions.

To sign up for the DTAC Deezer unlimited package:

*104*553*5720382#

Mobile Expo at Queen Sirikit

The mobile expo is on October 3-6 at Queen Sirikit convention center. The Mobile Expo is essentially a huge phone and accessory sale. If you’re in the market for an android-based smart phone or device this event has what you’re looking for.

Notable brands that showed up this year are in Ais, DTAC, Truemove, Samsung, Sony, Lenovo, and a handful of Thai brands.

The biggest booths were held by Samsung, AIS, Dtac, Nokia and Truemove. Apple of course was nowhere to be seen, however I can easily see why they would not want to be associated with the plethora of choice that has become android.

On display at the Samsung booth was a full line of android phones as well as their new smartwatch. The smartwatch was double the thickness of my pebble watch and quite a bit of chunky metal on your arm. I can’t see any mass adoption for this particular model, but surely will get slimmer and easier to use in the future.

The major non-phone product I noticed for sale was supplemental battery packs. These were everywhere in every color and size, a sign of the current lack of battery power in today’s smart phones.

The Intel booth displayed some products like the fitbit and jawbone devices, but they were not for sale.

The bottom line for this event is that it’s for selling phones and accessories. There’s not a whole lot of cutting edge tech on display. If you’re looking for a new android phone this would be the place to come.

A few photos from the 2013 Bangkok Mobile Expo

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floorplan1

True Move giving viral video

True Move H Giving Video Goes Viral

With over 12 million views at the time of this post, this Truemove H advert has gone viral worldwide. Is been picked up by news sources like the Huffington Post and the Daily Mail.

The story is a three minute video about a young boy is shown generosity by a shop owner after being caught stealing medicine for his mom. Jumping forward 30 years that same shop owner finds himself in the hospital with his daughter trying to cover medical bills of $30,000. After receiving the bill she receives a second notice which states that ‘all expenses have been paid, with three packs of painkillers and a bag of veggie soup’.

 

This clever ad has been shared 40,000 times and added 4000 subscribers to the Truemove H channel.

video stats

Compare True Move, AIS and DTAC in Google Trends

Google trends compares search terms over time.  You can be a great way to gauge interest and popular ready for various search terms.  Just like Twitter hashtags, Google also shows what the breakout search terms are and how they compare to each other.

I did a little comparison on the three major carriers in Thailand.   The graph below shows the interest Google searchers have in the search terms Ais Thailand, Dtac Thailand, and Truemove Thailand.   Also arise graph, so feel free to check back here anytime to see the progress.
To have some more fun, I did another search. In Google search trends you can also select the search country. The graph below is searches from inside Thailand for the search terms Samsung and iPhone.

006 true move

International calling from Thailand

While in Thailand, you might find the need to call your family friends or business associates back in your home country.  Doing so these days easier than ever before.  From VoIP options, Skype, or carrier discounted international calling programs, the options are plentiful.  Finding the right calling tool for you will depend on who you’re calling, what type of a call it is, and your quality expectations.

 

App Options

These options are ways you can use an app on your smart phone make international calls.

Skype

By now most of us are familiar with Skype and it’s abilities.  Loading Skype with some credit, gives you the ability to call any number in the world directly from the app on your smart phone.  This can be done with Wi-Fi or over the 3G.  Call rates are competitive, and for the ease-of-use definitely worth it.  Rates are however almost double some of the hard-core VoIP rates.   If you really need to do a lot of international calling you may want to check some of the sit providers or, sign up for one of Skype’s package pricing deals.

Google Voice

talkatoneWhile and exciting option, Google voice is only available for US customers, or savy individuals can use the USA VPN or proxy, and have access to USA phone number.  One set up you have a USA phone number that anyone can reach you want.  Google voice has many features, but one of the best for outbound calling is the ability to call any number in the US and Canada for free.   To take advantage of this ability directly from your smartphone you need an app called Talkatone.  Once set up, you can use the keypad to call any USA number and make a free call.  As for caller ID, your Google voice number will show on the destination phone.

Line

line naverLine is the latest multi-messaging app sweeping the world. Line has both a desktop and smart phone client, with chat, voice recording and live voice options.  It works exactly like Skype in the way you can make a free call to anyone on your contact list.

Viber

viberViber’s popularity maybe on the decline, but it is the original smart phone calling app. While it came out before Line and provided a very easy to use service for calling anyone in your address book, its user base has now been surpassed by the popularity of line.

Facetime and Facetime audio

facetime audioMany Apple users are already familiar with FaceTime. FaceTime audio simply FaceTime without the video connection.  This means this is simply a direct phone call.  This works over 3G or Wi-Fi.  In the test I have done here the only major problem is the connection time, while the call quality is quite good with only an occasional lag.  To use FaceTime audio need iOS 7 update.  The downside is the person you’re calling also has to have iOS 7 and FaceTime audio.

Tango

Tango is an audio and video chat app.  Again both parties will need to have this installed to make a free voice or video call.

3CX Phone

3cx sip clientWhen you have the need to call any number anywhere, what you need is a sip VoIP client for your smartphone.  There are many SIP clients available for your smart phone but the one I’m currently using is the Free 3CX phone app.  Like any sit client, you will need to have a VoIP account with a SIP provider.

Carrier Options

All the Thai carriers have ability to call internationally from your mobile phone.  While the prices have become more competitive, there are ways to get even better rates when making a call from your Thai mobile phone.   All of these free fax services ask you to dial a number prefix and then the number you want to call like this: dial cheap prefix –> Country Code –> City Code –> Local Number

True Move

006 true moveTruemove users can use an International direct dialing service.  By using the prefix 006, you can get rates of 3 baht per minute 22 international destinations.

You can check the rates by dialing *006*Country Code#  dial.

To make premium grade international call via true 006 to fixed line or mobile number all over the world.
Just dial 006 –> Country Code –> City Code –> Local Number
(without the “0” before local number)

Example: Call Tokyo, Japan
Dial 006 –>81 –> 3 –> 67XXXXXX

More Details

AIS

ais 005AIS offers several international direct dialing service.  Please include dialing 005, 00500, 001, 009, 007 or 008.

International call service is the service that enables you to use your AIS One-2-call! mobile phone to make international outgoing call to the foreign destination numbers.

You can make international call by yourself.

  • Make call via AIN network : 005 Globaline , 00500
  • Make call via CAT network: 001, 009
  • Make call via TOT network: 007, 008

AIS customers can now make international call by pressing “+” to represent access code 005 from AIN GlobalComm
or by directly pressing 001, 005, 007, 008, 009 or 00500 to access international call services from other providers.

DTAC

dtac 004Dtac has the same international discounted calling service by dialing 004.

  • Dial access code 004 = call through Dtac Network Co., Ltd
  • Dial access code 001 or 009 = call through  CAT Telecom PCL.
  • Dial access code 007 or 008 = call through TOT PCL.

Prices to the US start at 8 Baht per minute, and you can check prices to any country here.

Software options

 

SIP Providers

This is protocol is a non-proprietary system for making international calls.  While a company like Skype uses their proprietary method for making calls, the SIP protocol is used by thousands of companies offering various types of calling programs and packages.  In general you will need an account with a sip provider, and then a hard or soft phone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is DTAC Trinet?

DTAC Trinet is the combination of DTAC’s 3 network frequencies that allow the carrier to provide calls, a 3G network and 4G network.  The frequencies are the 1800 Mhz, 850 Mhz and 2100 Mhz.

How does this help?

DTAC is now offering 3G speeds up to 42Mbps.  That means it’s one of your top 3 options for fast mobile Internet in Thailand.

The 2100 Mhz frequency is the latest to be auctioned off in Thailand and it’s on this frequency that fast internet speeds can be offered.  DTAC’s 3G network claims coverage of 50% of the Thai population, rising to 55% by the end of 2013. The company expects to have 10 million 3G subscribers by year-end, up from 5 million now.

If you’re using DTAC now and you have a device that supports the faster speeds, you should follow the steps to be registered with the new network.

 

How to use Trinet

register for dtac trinet

Where to get help?

If you don’t want to sign up alone, you can try these DTAC service centers.