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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.

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.

 

 

 

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


opensignal.com

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

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