It’s year end and many of you would be travelling for your well deserved holidays. When travelling, most of us would not be able to do without internet access- and if you are travelling overseas, it’s much cheaper to get a temporary SIM that provides data plan.
From my previous article on Buying SIM card for your iPad, iPhone or Blackberry when travelling to Thailand, again I’ve travelled to Thailand last month and managed to get myself another new SIM card. I remembered there is a 7 day data plan package for Blackberry from my previous trip there. So the moment I checked out from the customs, I headed straight to the telecommunication stores located after the checkout.
Again, I strongly encourage that if you want to set up the data package for your iPad, iPhone, Blackberry, Samsung, get from these booths. Because the staff there are well versed, can speak English and know what they’re talking about. When you buy the SIM card, you can pass them your phone or iPad and they would help you to put the new SIM on your device, registering the number, top up additional credit and answer whatever questions you may have. For Blackberry, they help to register- which if you go to shops outside, the staff may not know how to do it.
If you wait till you to to 7 Eleven- most of the time the staff there cannot help you- you would probably end up getting yourself a phone SIM and if you activate the data plan like that, it would cost the earth- because you are paying according to your data usage instead of specific packages. I know because someone got his Thai SIM card from 7 Eleven and had to keep spending money to top up the credit due to the data plan usage at 7 Eleven stores.
The photos below are taken from the DTAC booth which runs the “Happy Tourist SIM” offer:
There are 3 main data communication companies located at Suvarnabhumi airport. You can compare prices- or check out the prices from forums and the companies official website. If not mistaken, the companies are AIS, DTAC and True Move.
Prior to going, I did some quick searches and find that this time, the package from DTAC under Happy Tourist package seemed to suit me. When I approached the store there, the staff mentioned the offer for Blackberry (coz we have to always pay for BIS plan if we want to get push email and to use the internet)- for 7 days it costs 499 baht (about RM50). There is a free 100 baht credit (for phone calls and sms) covered in that package.
The package includes all complete unlimited internet access which includes WhatsApps, Facebook, push email, BBM, YouTube- actually I am also not very sure if it is really unlimited- because with Blackberry where the data tend to be compressed, I hardly use much data. On top of that, I paid an additional 100 baht just in case I need to make some calls.
I was told the charges is as follows:
- 4 baht per sms to Malaysia (and some other countries as well)
- 5 baht per minute for calls back to Malaysia but I must remember to key in the prefix “004 followed by my country code”. Example, if the number is 03-7552525, then I need to key in on my phone “0046037552525″ – and it would cost 5 baht per minute. If not, then it would cost more.
Overall, I spent 5 days in Thailand- and after I top up 100 baht (on top of the 100 baht free that came with the package), I left with a remaining credit of about 170 baht- from the few phone calls and sms I made back. The credit is due to expire in mid January 2013 only. Which is not an issue as I would be back again to Thailand next month so I get to use back the same SIM. Only thing is that I would probably need to arrange to pay additional for data plan.
If your family members back home have Smartphone (well nowadays so many of us do), all you need is a data package that comes with Facebook and WhatsApps so that you can send free messages to your heart’s content. It’s actually cheaper compared to subsribing to call package. My family members are not in the Smartphone wagon yet, so I communicate back using Facebook and email. Which is also free and covered as part of the package.
What’s fun was that I could snap spontenous photos of my friends while we were there and then share the photo via WhatsApps- which they can view and download (most of them did not take up data plan). And I could also upload photos immediately to a Facebook group to share what was happening.
Getting started after you buy the SIM:
Activating your SIM card:
- insert SIM card –> turn on mobile phone –> await SMS confirming your current promotion –> make call and use Happy services
Forgot your mobile number?
Dial * 1 0 2 * 9 # then dial and your mobile number would be displayed on your screen.
Topping up your SIM card:
Each time you top up your call credit, the validity date gets extend depending on the value of that top up. If no refill is made within 45 days after the SIM’s current validity date, the SIM card will expire. Maximum accumulation of validity is 90 days.
Tips: Mobile number in Thailand will always start with zero: 0x (ie 0x-xxxx-xxxx). If you are having someone calling or text messaging you from abroad, don’t forget to have them remove 0 (zero) and then add +66 for the Thailand country code (+66x-xxxx-xxxx).
With nationwide network coverage, you can always connect to the internet with the Happy Internet service.
Upon SIM activation, your Happy internet should be ready for use. If you cannot access the internet via the Happy internet, then call DTAC at 1678 (DTAC call centre). Press 7 for English.
Happy Prepaid website: www.happy.co.th/english