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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.

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.
credit ausdroid.net

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

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

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