What's the best mobile-data option in Thailand for nomads?

#1

As I don’t know how long I may be in Thailand so can’t commit to a minimum term like a 12-month contract (1-month rolling is ok).

I’m hoping to find the best SIM to stick in my phone and get as much data as possible - ideally enough for laptop tethering when Wi-Fi isn’t immediately available also.

Is it possible to either sign-up in advance and get it delivered; or to get it from a shop and activate it that day? Or is there a waiting time of days for it to be sent and activated?

2 Likes
#2

I’m copying from the slack because they just spoke about this:


  1. True
    ◦ 4G
    ◦ Lots of Wi-fi spots in Bangkok
  2. AIS
    ◦ 3G only
    ◦ 1/3 price of True
    ◦ Better coverage in Chiang Mai
    ◦ wifi package 100 baht
  3. Dtac
    ◦ 4G
    ◦ 4gb 99 baht package

Apparently most people recommend getting True for reals and then buying AIS just for the wifi package.


I’m not in Thailand so I can’t verify but these people are trusted individuals. :smiley:

3 Likes
#3

I’ve been in Bangkok for a week and a half now, and True has been good enough, especially with their cafes though their prepaid packages are sucky and their website is horrible info-wise.

(Pre-paid cards don’t have a flat rate sadly, and the biggest package I’ve seen is around 6gb for 700 baht)

I’d like to hear from someone who’s been her a bit longer though, as I have no idea whether post-paid requires a contract/location etc

#4

If you are going for the islands - Koh Phangan, Samui, Tao - AIS SUCKS barely no signal, sometimes not even that.

#5

I use AIS - in Bangkok and Ao Nang / Krabi and everything works fine.

#6

Do True or AIS permit tethering?

I’m with GiffGaff here in the UK, and they block you for 30 minutes every time they detect you tethering - I’d want to make sure that’s not the case whilst I’m out and about in Thailand!

#7

I’m using AIS to open portable hotspots all the time and it works fine, have never tried any longer than 2 hours thought.

Both AIS & True have pretty much same network quality, depends on location, I think True is slightly cheaper.
Many islands in the south are best covered by DTAC, although you might want to call some local there and just ask them which is best (e.g. guesthouse, AirBnB host, etc).

No waiting time, just walk into a store, tell the staff what you want and they’ll set you up right then and there. Siam Paragon has stores for AIS, True and DTAC and they have very helpful English-speaking staff.

When I signed up for AIS postpaid, they required to see my passport with a Non-O visa and work permit, but these requirements change sometimes.

#8

I’ve been in Thailand for quite some time. First mobile-data plan I’ve used is with AIS, it works fine but it’s quite expensive. I’ve paid around I think 430 Baht to purchase the prepaid sim card and activate my 4G, used it only for less than a month. After that, I’ve purchased credits again for 400 Baht (they said this is the monthly fee to reactivate it again), but I still can’t use it. I went to the shop and asked what went wrong, they said I need to purchase 430 Baht (FYI, I was not informed about this 30 Baht when I signed up) and not 400 Baht in order to activate 4G again. So in short, I’ve wasted 400 Baht and did not get anything from it. They did not refund it too, sadly.

Last two weeks, there were staff from True who were going around our neighbourhood. They have offered us a TV+Wi-fi+4G package. Since it’s quite cheap (700 Baht monthly for everything), we’ve decided to try it. Download speed for the wi-fi is 30MB/s (fiber optic) and 4G is unlimited. So far, everything works perfectly fine.

Trialing Bangkok
#9

Ok, sounds like True will be the best to approach first. Thanks guys.

#10

I just got back from Thailand, I used a True 3G pocket wifi device. It’s this one:

It was $50 for the unit + $30 a month for 5gb data, which kept me going for about 20 days. It worked pretty much everywhere I tried it in Bangkok, Phuket and Chiang Mai. It supported 4 or 5 connections at once.

Also I had True and AIS logins for when their wifi networks were present.

#12

I used AIS then True and had no problems. It may be easier to find a True wifi around Bangkok but depends where you hang out.

#13

AIS now has 802.11ac hotspots dubbed AIS SUPER WIFI, and if you’ve got a 3G data package over 500 Baht a month you can use them for free. 3x faster than 802.11n and better on your battery life. More

True is ok, unless you are socially conscious. True is in bed with CAT and they are behind preventing the 4G auctions from taking place, and more interested in controlling the market thru cronyism than competition. I.e. True makes Thailand a worse place and they take an anti-foreigners stance. But if you don’t card about that, then go forth. More on this.

@IAmFledge There is no issue with tethering in Thailand.

@BabaStraja Both pre and post paid cards use the same data packages. All monthly plans use the FUP (fair use policy) model giving you XGb of fast data, then drop you to 384kbps, 256kbps or sometimes 128kbps when you run out of your high speed allotment. Really no reason to get post-paid.

DTAC and AIS both have a promo going for their monthly package for the first 2 or 3 months, you get double or tripple the FUP.

For example: With AIS 12Call, for 748 Baht/ month you get first 3 months with 9GB of 3G and free AIS wifi. (After 3 months it drops to 3GB per month, but hey, just cancel)

Here’s the easy way to get set up:

  1. You need an AIS 12Call sim (can be a tourist SIM)
  2. Press *121# to check your balance. You need at least 748 Baht. ( You can get credit here )
  3. Dial this USSD code on the SIM to sign up for 9GB monthly 3G package:
    *777*993*316358# (You’ll get an sms if it worked and your balance will be deducted.)
  4. Dial *338# to get your Wifi password

You can then throw that sim into a pocket wifi router or device.

2 Likes
#14

@inthaiguy - That is a phenomenal summary thank you.

I wish I’d been able to read it before I came out here and tugged all my hair out trying to figure out how to get AIS packages to work.

1 Like
#15

I’m now down on Ko Samui. I ended up buying a 12GB package on AIS for 800 THB when I was in Chiang Mai.

So far I’ve found the signal and speed of 3G to be none-short of excellent. Better than a lot of the Wi-Fi here, as the Mobile Jazz guys found.

With 3G here, I’ve hit download speeds of 2MB/s (capital B). I even had full 3G signal the entire way on the boat travelling between Surat Thani and Ko Samui.

It’s a liberating and surreal feeling sitting on a beach with a laptop not plugged into anything, browsing at such smooth speeds.

#16

I’m on Truemove H Prepaid plan while in Chiang Mai.

Big lesson I learned is to get the a 7 day data top up instead of the 30 days.

At first, I got the 30 Day - 6GB plan. But when I burned through the 6GB I was stuck with the lower speed data. Apparently they do not allow you to top up again if your package has not expired. I was only on day 9 out of 30 when my 6GB was used up.

So I ended having to switch to another SIM card so I can get the faster internet again.

So if you are going with the prepaid plan and your planning on using more than 6GB in a short period. I recommend only topping up with 7 Day data packages. This way once your package expires in 7 days, you can top up with another 7 Day data package. This will insure you always have fast speeds.

Hope this helps another person not make the same mistake.

3 Likes
#17

I went with AIS and burned through all my data, now I don’t use mobile data at all. My building has sinet which is cable internet, and otherwise I try to use wifi (AIS wifi at camp for example). Alternatively you can use cafes or co-working spaces.

#18

Another vote for TrueMoveH! Got the 599 a month package and has always been reliable in nearly all major cities in Thailand.

#19

Worthwhile update: AIS appears to be rolling out its 4G network now, since there’s a free 4GB 4G trial you can opt into if you’ve got an AIS SIM. Covers Chiang Mai and a few other major cities.