Using Mobile for Internet Access on Your Notebook Computer

Here is exactly how to go about getting set up on EDGE (EGPRS) or regular GPRS data connection with a Nokia phone and AIS or DTAC mobile providers in Thailand. Prior to my 2nd attempt here of using ADSL I used EDGE for over 3 years with both DTAC and AIS as my primary means of connecting online. It’s fast enough that you won’t be throwing stuff across the room – but, it’s a serious drop from anything resembling broadband speeds.


These steps will enable you to connect your mobile phone to your computer – desktop or notebook computer and access the internet using your AIS or DTAC data connection at a cost of about 50 baht per day, or you could sign up for one of the longer-term data plans at a few hundred baht per month. These are unlimited data plans – no cap on uploads or downloads.

Steps to setting up your EDGE / GPRS connection:

1. Purchase a Nokia mobile phone with a Class 32 data modem. You may need to look online to find them but here are some phones that have them: Nokia e71, Nokia 5800 music express, Nokia N90… Most of the high end Nokias have the class 32 modems inside. Some have Class 10 – which also works, but you’ll get slower speeds. I STRONGLY recommend don’t waste your time with Class 10 and just get a Class 32. You can find a phone for about 7-8,000 Thai Baht with a Class 32. Doesn’t the Nokia e70 have Class 32? I think so.

Keep in mind that someday Thailand might have 3G access. So, you might buy a phone with 3G inside also because it’s going to make EDGE obsolete entirely when it finally arrives maybe sometime in 2010.

List of Nokias that have Class 32 modems: e65, e70, e71, e72, e75, n76, n82, n86, 5130, 5530, 5310, 6555, 6720 Classic, 6700 Classic, 5800 and 5130 Express Music. There are many more – this list is just to give you a sample.

I don’t know which of those phones have 3G – so check.

2. Wherever you buy your phone should have SIM cards for sale. These go into your phone and you can use plastic cards from 7-11 to top them up with Thai Baht so you can make phone calls and use the internet.

Choose a SIM card that allows you to call other people with voice, and data connections to the internet. There are specific SIMS that are just for data – but, I don’t see the point – just get one you can do both with.

Also add some Thai Baht to your phone at the phone store or at the 7-11. For AIS just ask for AIS – 1-2 Call, 150 baht or 300 baht – whatever you want. For DTAC network ask for Dee-TAC Happy 150 or 300 baht.

100 baht = ‘roy baht or loy baht’ depending what dialect they feel like using.

150 baht = ‘roy hah sip baht’ or ‘loy hah sip baht

300 baht = ‘sam roy baht’ or ‘sam loy baht”

Install SIM and use the instructions on the back of the phone card you bought to add the credit in baht.

3. For AIS call 1175 to set up your phone for internet use. For DTAC it’s 1678. They need to do some magic on their end to make things work. You can get an English speaker at either of those phone numbers.

4. Now you need to buy an internet data plan. Actually both companies let you just start using the internet immediately without a plan if that’s what you choose to do. There’s no need to get a plan, but they’ll charge you 1 baht per minute.

Instead, you could sign up for a whole day of unlimited internet for 50 baht (12/09). Or, you can get even cheaper rates by getting a monthly plan for a few hundred baht – unlimited too.

If your phone has a web browser or email functions you can set that up immediately just to check if it’s working. Remember you’re at the 1 baht per minute until you choose an internet plan.

5. Choosing an internet plan.

AIS

There are two ways to do this – dealing with the computer where you punch buttons. Or, you can just call the numbers I gave you above and tell them you want to sign up for an internet data package. There are two types of billing. One time, and recurring – so be sure which you have.

For AIS just do this if you want to use the computer to sign up for 1 day of service at 50 baht for 24 hours:

To get internet for 1 day on your phone (unlimited for 49 baht) enter:

*138*0349# and wait for the confirmation SMS. Now, be careful because you will get 2 confirmation SMS’s. The first one says – you WILL get it. Doesn’t mean you have it. The next one says – it’s activated. Meaning – you have it. Be careful with this because after the first message if you connect online you’ll STILL be paying 1 baht per minute. Even if you get the 2nd message after you connect. You must connect to internet after the 2nd message to get the good rate.

DTAC

To get 1 day of unlimited internet enter *1004 and listen for the Thai prompts. Every time you hear “got noong” enter a number -> Enter 1, 3, 1, 1. If you want internet for a week or month ask a Thai to help you with it or dial 1678 and talk to the English operator and ask for it. Note – the menu could change anytime, but it’s been the same for over a year now.

5. Find a computer with fast internet access and download the latest version of Nokia PC Suite 7.1 (or latest) Software to your USB thumb drive. It’s free. It enables you to connect. It’s essential as far as I know. Get it at:

http://europe.nokia.com/support/download-software/pc-suites/compatibility-and-download

You may need to tell them which phone you have first – so, know your model.

6. Install Nokia PC Suite. Follow the instructions because it will tell you when to plug in your USB cable to the phone. Don’t do so before they tell you. When you plug the USB cable into your phone be very careful it’s going the right way and that you’re exceptionally gentle with it. I’ve met more people that broke their small USB connectors on their phone than I can count.

7. After your phone is connected you’ll get this message – on your PHONE, not your computer, “Select USB mode:” and you choose one of the selections.

PC Suite, Mass Storage, Image transfer, Media transfer

Choose PC Suite

It will give you a confirmation that PC Suite mode was selected (on your phone).

8. You should now see on the left side of your PC Suite software on your computer, an image of your phone. That means it’s connected. You can now use any of the functions PC Suite gives you like transferring files, music, videos from your phone to your computer and vice-versa.

You may get a message from Windows saying you need to update your software for the phone or the PC Suite. DON’T do this because it’s a 40MB download and it will take hours and hours on a slow EDGE connection. Not to mention – if your connection dies for even 1 second during those hours – your phone could be hosed.

Better to go download the updated PC Suite at another broad-band enabled computer on USB drive and bring it back home to install the update. For phone updates – they are always a bit of a crap-shoot. You might lose access to your phone operating system – meaning, it bricks – and you need to send your phone to Nokia. If the update isn’t revolutionary – and you can see on Nokia’s site what updates are available for your phone – forget it. Leave well enough alone I say when it comes to phone updates.

Here are the rest of the instructions in the screencapture video below if you have internet now and can watch it at YouTube:

Make sure you choose the HQ in the lower right side of the YouTube video player to get the best quality video.

Here it is on site here – super clear and easy to see but maybe a little larger file size and more download time:  Walk through video Thailand EDGE >

If not and you need to download the file and watch later from your computer you’re setting up and you won’t have internet at the time here is the video to download. Right click and choose “Save file as…” or “Save target as…” or “Save link as…” depending which browser you’re using. It’s an MP4 file – about 9MB. You can use Apple’s QuickTime program (for PC computers) to open and watch it.

Instructions for connecting with PC SUITE software > FILE

Internet access being what it is here in Thailand it’s good to have a backup plan. My ADSL goes out routinely in 12-20 hour chunks. Hard to take, but, that’s the price we pay for living in paradise – right?

I didn’t go through this for Mac because I don’t have one.

I didn’t go through this for Motorola because it didn’t work well for me at all.

I didn’t go through this for iPhone because I don’t have one – yet. Possibly coming soon. Apparently iPhone didn’t come with functionality to let buyers connect to the internet on the phone and share the iPhone modem with a computer. Once your phone is jailbroken you can do it, I’ve seen the tutorials.

Good Luck…

Author: Vern

I'm an American expat living in Thailand. I like to write informative pieces about life in, living in Thailand, including topics like: Thai People, Thai Culture, Nightlife, Technology, and I have published a lot of photographs, videos, and even books on Thailand that you can find at ThailandeBooks.com. There are many photographs of Thailand here - feel free to share with attribution (a link back to the home page). All written content on this site by Vern Lovic. Contact me at Google+.

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