Using your smartphone in Thailand

by CameronM Tue, April 03 2012 23:24


Getting a SIM card for your smartphone in Thailand is very easy, plus it gives you the freedom to surf the net as well as reasonably cheap local and international calls.

Internet access at our hotel is charged at a ridiculous rate (about 80THB for 30-minutes) so as soon as we got th Chiang Mai we went to the mall, attached to the hotel and bought a DTAC ‘Happy Tourist’ SIM card. Having researched on the Happy website, this looked like a good match for our needs as it had an option to get a full week of 3G internet for 199THB. The SIM comes in two varieties, 49THB or 99THB, the later with more included calls. The only problem was that the retailer sold us the 49THB SIM for 99THB, which I didn’t realise until we got back to the room and activated the card.

I put the SIM card into my HTC Mozart, almost instantly got messages from Happy that our service was active and tried to connect to the internet. Although the phone had service, I couldn’t get on the internet so I called the service number and finally spoke to a customer service rep who advised me that I needed to restart the phone - damn why didn’t I think of that (maybe because I have never needed to restart the phone for anything else).

The Happy Tourist SIM gives you the first days internet free, so we tested sharing the connection between my phone and laptop and it was working smoothly. We then milked our free internet for all that it was worth. Connection speeds here in Chiang Mai, even sharing the connection over Wi-Fi seem good. From the laptop tethered to my HTC said I was getting 1.52 Mbps down/.79Mbps up when connecting to Thailand-based servers. Connecting to servers in the USA, showed I was getting .78Mbps down/ .51Mbps up.

One disappointment is that you can’t top-up your account on the web using a credit card, so you need to purchase a top-up card from one of the retailers, such as 7-11.

Apart from saving money compared to the prices of Wi-Fi at the hotel, having your own SIM means that you can use all the features from your smarphone, including accessing you email and social network links, while you're out and about.


Tags: ,