SIM Card Sizes

SIM Card sizes have changed over the years and we’re now on our fourth size the nano SIM. All annoying for some, it looks like we’re just about to the end of the goal of trimming any excess plastic from the Subscriber Identity Module. The latest iPhones now use this smaller nano SIM. The good thing about these ever-increasing SIM sizes is it’s just an exercise in trimming plastic, and any simple SIM cutter can do the job.

Back in the old days, this is how many phones would take a full sized sim card.  Slide the whole credit card sized SIM into the back of the phone.


Old format nokia


old green nokia
Thankfully old big Nokia’s like this are no more, and we’ve reduced the necessary amount of plastic required to have a Sim card in our phones.
three thai sim cards


Here’s a chart of what the iPhones and iPads are currently using in terms of a Sim card.


Apple sim sizes



Also here’s a list of Android phones using a Micro SIM.   The list is now over 100 phones.


sim sizes mm




Thai iphone 5c grey price

Graymarket prices up for the 5C & 5S

MBK does not have the phones yet, but this is not their first rodeo. Expect to see the Apple 5c and 5S shortly after they launch in Singapore and other first launch countries.  People here clearly don’t like to wait,  especially people that are used to paying full price for an unlocked phone.  You can clearly expect to see these phones a day or two after launch as there will be plenty of people flying back from Singapore with two or more per person.

Thai iphone 5c grey price


89% of Thai users are on prepaid

Thailand market data Sept

Here are the stats of the current status of mobile phone penetration in Thailand from GSMA. As you can see 89% of users are prepaid.  With a population of 70 million people there are 83 million connections.  This means many users have two or even more lines they are using.

This basically means that everyone has at least one phone and many people have a secondary device either for Internet or iPad device.  Sim Cards are also finding uses in tracking devices and ATM machines modem.  Plus with 20 million tourist yearly, you can expect many of these are activating SIM cards.

We should expect these numbers to continue to go up over the next several years.   Mobile data speeds are getting faster and maybe in a lot of cases replacing DSL or cable modem needs.  The carriers have also introduced one number, multiple SIM card programs.  This way five Sim Cards can be under one account making adding top of credit much easier.








384 Kpbs compared to other speeds

FUP and Thailand’s 3G speeds

All major 3G networks in Thailand advertise their services with the price per gigabyte.  This may be a confusing at first because most people want to get an unlimited data package, not something limited by how much they download.   So the networks have adopted fair use policies (FUP) To allow users unlimited data, but safeguard against abuse.     Basically what they are saying is that they will throttle your usage once you reach your plan’s data cap.

3g package true move

Notice the data caps and the fine print of speeds after the FUP allotment.

Let’s take for example the Truemove H data plan package pricing.  You’ll see their plans say 500MB, 1 GB, two GB, and five GB.  This is the FUP amount, or fair usage amount before you will get throttled.    As you can see in the fine print,  once you get throttled from using all your FUP data, you will drop down to speed starting at 384 Kbps.

As you can see below, These are the speeds of the 3 major 3G networks.  None of them come close to the promised max speed of 42 Mbps.

Thailand mobile speeds

So lets say you’re at 5 Mbps for your first 5Gb of downloads, then you drop to .375 Mbps, you’re now working as speeds of a 56k modem or Bluetooth connection.

384 Kpbs compared to other speeds

To put another way, you’re able to get about 2.9 MB per minute or 4.1 GB in 24 hours.   So what’s the total theoretical download for one month from your 3G connection?   If you were downloading at top speed of 5 Mbps  you could effectively reach your 5 GB In 2 hours 30 minutes.    And so for the remaining 29.9 days, if you downloaded at 384 Kbps you would be able to grab approximately 124 GB during the month.

Of course these are theoretical speeds and actual performance can be wildly different.









iphone 5c salmon color

Apple iPhone 5s Videos

Take a look at the iPhone 5s and 5c. The 5c is bascially a replacement of the iPhone 5, not really the cheaper low budget phone everyone had talked about. Much more like a Macbook / Macbook Pro positioning.  Also note that Apple smartly disable comments on the Youtube postings – not know for a high level of discourse.

How to check the network provider of a Thai phone number


Check the network provider of a Thai phone number

While not something you need to do every day, you may find yourself needing to know the network provider of a Thai phone number. Luckily there are a couple different websites providing this service.

In addition to helping you to find a network provider, they can also give you a idea of where in Thailand the number was purchased. The Thai network operators allocate different numbers to different regions of the country. When you purchase a Prepaid Sim card, you can look on the sticker and you will see the region.

Keep in mind that now Thailand has number portability these services will only check to see what Carrier the number was allocated, not the current carrier.



Checkber is a simple site with a lot of ads that will give you the provider and region of the number you enter.  By the way “ber” is short slang for “Number”.


Webdoober goes one step further and also shows a map of the region in Thailand where the number was allocated.



Dtac tourist sim

The 299 DTAC Tourist SIM

With so many Sim cards on the market from the big three Thailand providers, and several others from smaller providers it’s hard to know which SIM card to choose. As we all know the tourist market to Thailand is strong and growing, approaching 20 million tourists per year. With all these short term and midterm guests, the Thailand network operators have taken notice.

We’ve looked at all the SIMs from TRUE, AIS and DTAC.  All are good but for tourists, the DTAC Tourist SIM seems to be the best right now.

DTAC Tourist SIMs

There are two tourist SIM offerings from DTAC Happy pre-paid. One is a standard 49 Baht no-frills Sim, and the other is a 299 Baht Sim which in my opinion is a great choice.

Anytime you buy a 50 Baht SIM card, you usually need to buy a top off voucher immediately. 50 Baht cards usually come with 15 Baht or less credit on them allowing you to make only a call or two.

The 299 Baht card comes loaded with calling credit and seven days of free unlimited 3G Internet usage. This is a great option for smart phone users who will make a call or two and also need full unlimited Internet access.

As with most any Thai SIMs, these particular promotions can always be changed. After the free unlimited 3G is finished, you can add credit to your account and sign up for a new unlimited, weekly, or daily package.

The Sim also comes dual cut meaning it’s full-sized or a MicroSim. Nano SIM users for the iPhone 5 will still need to get cut.

As this is a SIM geared for tourists, so you may not see these for sale everywhere. You should be able to find them at the Bangkok airport and other busy tourist destinations.

You may also see this SIM in a foreign airport as it is a popular one for tourist to Thailand to pick up before they arrive.

Sim Card Features

  • 7 days unlimited 3G Internet – after the 7 days, sign up for a 3G package OR pay 10 thb / MB
  • Dual cut SIM is both Micro and Regular sized (sorry, not a nano sim for iPhone 5 users)
  • Valid for 35 days after activated – once you top up, you’ll get more validity
  • 100 Baht of calling credit
  • No registration requirements
  • Free incoming calls and SMS
  • Instant activation
  • Pay as you go

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DTAC Tourist Promo Video


Sim Details

dtac tourist sim