Traveling to Thailand? Which Mobile Phone Service is Best?

by Vern on May 4, 2007

DTAC Logo. DTAC is a mobile phone service provider in Thailand. True logo. True is a mobile phone service provider in Thailand AIS logo. AIS is a major mobile phone service provider in Thailand.

If you travel to Thailand, which mobile phone service in Thailand is best? Thailand tourists commonly just sign up for any mobile phone service because they don’t know any better. I didn’t! When I first arrived in Thailand I used Orange, which is now commonly known as True Move mobile phone service. I was buying someone a lot of MK dinners at that company because I was paying 5 baht per minute for phone calls and 5 baht per SMS. I was horrified to find on my phone a counter that told me I had sent and received so many thousands of SMS messages over a year. I was a real nut with it though, I’d send many each day to many different people. 20 messages in a day was probably the average for a long time. So, after realizing I had spent around 20,000 baht that year for SMS messages alone I realized I’d better get smart about the mobile phone plans. I asked my girlfriend. She used DTAC. I like the idea of AIS since when Taksin was in charge I knew that he would make sure his company was the best or one of them while he was in power. I also liked a rate plan that was offered so I bought a SIM for AIS and threw away the Orange SIM. I was then getting calls for 3 baht for the first minute and 75 satang for each additional minute. I think SMS was at 2 baht per, or maybe even 1 baht because I bought a special package for that too. There are packages for EVERYTHING and you’ve gotta check them all out to get the best deal. If you have AIS the number to dial for customer service from your mobile is: 1175. If you have DTAC the number is: 1678.. . If you want to hear current promotions dial: *1003. If you want to check which promotion you’re currently set up with dial *103#. You’ll need to an English speaker more than likely and you should be able to at these numbers. So, I used AIS (also known as 1-2 Call) for over a year. I was pretty satisfied with it. The phone connection was nearly ALWAYS good, but only cut out when I was at a government school I taught at in Surat Thani. I don’t know why but that is the ONLY place I’ve ever had a problem – around the COUNTRY trying to get a signal. AIS has decent internet service and coverage, including high-speed EDGE service in some major cities. I recently switched over to DTAC though as a result of their offering a free PUSH MAIL service for 6 months to mobile phones. DTAC is marketed under the “HAPPY” slogan. PushMail is like this… You receive an email at your designated PushMail account at one of the following email providers or one of your own pop-3 accounts: hotmail, msn, yahoo, or gmail (google mail). You are then notified by SMS text message that you have an email waiting and you can follow a link (click it) to go straight into your email account and read your email and respond if you like. AIS has this service available, but you’d need to be on their unlimited internet access plan each month – which runs 999 baht. DTAC’s service is a bit buggy. They just rolled it out and I can’t get my Gmail to work – but I saw another foreigner on a forum at their site and he got his issue worked out in 2 weeks. We’ll see how long to get mine smoothed over. Anyway, they DO have a decent internet service – I’m getting EDGE speeds over GPRS and I’m happy just using my phone as a modem for my notebook computer and not having to pay 15-20 baht per hour to use internet at a cafe. I’m cheap, I know. But, when you live here you become cheap. I’m at the point where if I’m going to spend 50 baht on dinner it better be AWESOME! DTAC and AIS both have competitive plans that are changing constantly. Your best bet is to call the numbers I gave you. I am really revved up about DTAC though since I just got it and had such good success with their internet access. Also, I was bored and looked at their mini info book that came with my SIM. OH MY GOD. Cool thing number 1: Did you know DTAC offers a FREE translation service for foreigners? YES! It’s free if you have a DTAC enabled phone. Just call *1021. You have a personal translator from Thai to English and English to Thai! I’m not joking. You explain what you want to say in Thai to whomever you are with – your girlfriend, you’re massage girl, whatever – and the translator listens… You then hand your phone to the Thai person you want to get the message to and the translator tells them what you said. You can go back and forth like that. IS THAT COOL or what? You do pay for minutes as if you’re calling anyone else – but still. Come on. AIS does not have this (as of this date). Cool thing number 2 – and this might be even cooler YET. If you have zero baht on your phone and you just NEED to make a mobile call – no worries. DTAC HAS AN… “EMERGENCY REFILL SERVICE”! They will loan you 30 baht which you can pay back the next time you refill your SIM with baht! Is that nuts? Just dial *110# of you want to talk to someone and set it up. or *1010 and follow the computer instructions – not sure if they have an English voice on this – I’ve not called (yet). They’ll send you an SMS message to confirm that you’re hooked up with a 30 baht loan! Is that cool or what? As you can see – lately I’m a cheerleader for DTAC. I think tourists that travel to Thailand should check out at least DTAC and AIS before deciding which one is best. For me, at this time, DTAC is it. No question. Your needs may differ.

UP TO YOU!

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

bababobo May 5, 2007 at 9:54 pm

I use AIS and connections to any DTAC number are a matter of luck. Many times you just hear a voice telling you the number does not exit (but it does) Especially during the early evening.

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: ) May 5, 2007 at 10:06 pm

Ah, I wasn’t aware there were still problems between these two carriers. Back when I had AIS and my g/f had DTAC it was HELL for a long time. In fact, that’s why I asked her to switch to AIS and it was smooth from there. If there are still problems between these two – that sucks. I haven’t noticed it since most people I call have AIS. But, now that I have DTAC – we’ll see what results. Thanks for writing and letting us know there’s still difficulty. Where are you BKK or where? Vern

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Phuket Flights January 12, 2011 at 9:24 am

I have used AIS since arriving and have found them to have great coverage all over, the unlimited data plan runs at 650 baht a month now. One thing I just found out about phones is your telehone sim gets disabled when you go into the 3 southern provinces with the unrest, data will still work. You can reenable them by visiting some office with passport and giving a thumb print.

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