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Buying SIM card for your iPad, iPhone or Blackberry when travelling to Thailand

When you are travelling to Thailand and wish to be able to access to the internet and data plan, you can buy the prepaid SIM cards directly from the airport. Please buy from the airport and not 7 Eleven stores because 7Eleven only sell top ups and if you are buying a phone SIM and top up manually, it is much more expensive compared to getting a direct prepaid package from the airport.

Smartphone users who loved to surf the net from their mobile would know that prepaid data & call package is much cheaper than getting a normal phone line, then getting charged as you go online under the phone line charges. In Malaysia, many Maxis users complained of being charged hundreds and even thousands of ringgit when they went online- sometimes not be familiar with the phone, they had thought they were using the Wifi but in fact, it downloaded the data plan from service provider. And being slapped by a huge bill.

So it’s the same if you are travelling to Thailand- at least that’s what I know because I’ve been to Bangkok last month. Let me share with you my experience in getting the package directly from Suvarnabhumi airport:

1. Before I went, I googled around for forums and from there, saw some plans being offered by the top providers: AIS, True Move & DTAC. Usually I don’t go on data plan when I am overseas (because previously also did not get Smartphone yet). But due to work, I decide to take up the plan so that the office can contact me easily using WhatApps.

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2. Upon arrival and on exit from customs, turn right and walk a short distance and you will see all the 3 main service providers:


2. The first service provider I approached was TrueMove because from my previous stay using their service, they are cheaper than 1-2-Call. As I was requesting for my Blackberry, I was told the BIS system was down (??) which was unusual. So I dragged my luggage and bags, proceeded to DTAC and AIS. After looking around, I decided to take up the 1 month prepaid Blackberry BIS + data+ calls from AIS’s 1-2-call:

The different packages: call & internet SIM for Blackberry phone is as follows- 1 month plan:

  • A- Pay 499 baht and you get: BBM/Facebook/ Twitter.  Including in the package, you get value of 79 baht to make calls/sms, OR
  • B- Pay 499 baht and you get: BBM/Email (hotmail, gmail, yahoo mail).  Including in the package, you get value of 79 baht to make calls/sms.
  • C- 799 baht- BBM/ Facebook/ Twitter/ Email/ Internet 300 MB. Including in the package, you get value of 165 baht to make calls/sms.
  • D- 1099 baht- All service unlimited. Including in the package, you get value of 145 baht to make calls/sms.

Packages A& B have no internet browsing. Only C&D gives you WhatsApps, internet browsing, YouTube, Google map, etc. I took package C and topped up some additional charges to enable me to make more calls and sms. The staff told me that by pressing some numbers before you dial back home, it is sometimes cheaper per minute that sending sms overseas.

I stayed in Thailand for about 2 weeks but I got the 1 month plan because none of the providers got anything for 2 weeks. It’s either 1 week (DTAC) or 1 month. Furthermore, for Blackberry phone, if you want to surf the net, you must have either Wifi (for newer versions) or BIS plan. If you want to have push email you must have BIS plan. And you cannot get the BIS plan from a 7Eleven convenience stall, my friend. Often the staff there may not understand what you want. So, if you are planning to get a data plan for your Samsung, iPhone, iPad, Blackberry, please please get from the airport.

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Straight away you can get the staff to install the new SIM in your device and you can try it out there and then.  There are also other customers who got SIMs for their iPhone and iPad next to me.

Below is the plan just for calls only. If you have no intention to go online and just use the phone for calling /sms, then you can buy from any 7Eleven because it is cheaper.

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