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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.

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

 

 

 

Waiting at true move shop

Getting a Thai phone number upon arrival

When you arrive at Suvarnabhumi Airport ( BKK ) one of the first things you’ll want to do after you’ve landed is get connected. You can do this one of 2 ways – roaming or buying a local SIM card.

Roaming

Considering roaming means you will use your existing home SIM on local Thai networks.   Usually you can choose any of the 3 major networks you want, but your local telecom company may have negotiated rates with one of the local providers.  (Likely the one that sends you a welcome SMS when you first turn on your phone in Thailand.)

Be sure to have International Roaming turned on before you http://torasap.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=14119&action=edit&message=10leave your home country.  Call the call center and ask them to turn it on, and also ask about their charges for data and voice roaming in Thailand, and their preferred partner network.  Data roaming can be as cheap as $15 a day, on the right network.

Buying a Sim

The way to get a local Thai number and local Data is by buying a Thai SIM card.  SIM cards slide into the back of most phones unless you’re on a CDMA system found in USA or Japan.  In Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK),  the 3 Thai Telcos have shops where you can buy a Thai SIM card.  First, right outside of the International gates, there are kiosks for DTAC (blue), AIS (Green ) and True Move (Red).  The base price of all basic SIM cards is 50 thb.  Yes, less than $2. So yeah, that’s dirt cheap!

sim card shop

 

To get an idea of what these phone kiosks look like, here are a few photos of the actual shops:

 

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