Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Thai SIM cards

Photo by ucumari (CC)
Once in a while the blog of a guy who lives abroad, besides bizarre stories and mental masturbations, should also provide some useful advice to those who are about to visit the same places. Here I am.
Recommendation for the tourist who arrives to Thailand: unless you don't really need it, forget about international roaming, get into the first 7/eleven that you come across, buy a local SIM card and give your new Thai number to your family and friends. As a provider I personally use DTAC, but True and AIS-1-2-call offer similar services and rates.
Alright, what kind of advice is this? I knew that by myself, you'll be thinking. In fact I haven't finished yet. If you contact the call center at the number that you'll find among your contacts after the activation you'll be able to purchase dirt cheap SMS and Internet packages as well. Cheap SMS can only be sent to local numbers but if you're traveling in group or make friends with some Thais or other tourists this will still be a good idea, especially considering the cost.
The prices of the SIM cards and the calling rates vary depending on the applicable promotions: for example at the time or writing DTAC is offering a card for only 49 baht. You can also buy another type for 199 baht, with cheaper rates and a higher initial credit (currently 1 euro = 42 baht).
As for the SMS, I normally purchase a 100-SMS-package for about 60 baht, which means 60 cents a message. Considering that without promotion you normally pay 3 baht to send a text message to a Thai number this is definitely a good deal. Sending an SMS to a foreign number will cost you 9 baht in any case.
International calling rates (IDD) also vary, depending on the provider and the ongoing promotions.
Talking about internet options I normally buy a 70-hour-package for little more than 200 baht. Shorter length or unlimited use monthly packages are also available. You can use them with a smarphone or with a laptop connected to your device via USB cable or bluetooth. Of course there are also specific promotions for Blackberry, iPhone, iPad, etc. but you'd better buy them directly from your provider outlets. You can find them in most of the major shopping malls (for instance Siam Paragon, MBK and Central World in Bangkok).


Spaceman said...

When I travel and need a SIM I prefer buying it in advance so that I can give out the nunber to friends. Have used both telestial.com and http://www.prepaidsimcard.org It's the DTAC sim though a bit more expensive than buying it in Thailand.

Fabio said...

Yes, that is also an option, anyway if you still don't have one when you arrive you can buy it as soon you as you clear immigration at the airport.