ASIA Travel

Mobile Telephones in Bangkok - Thailand

a guide for travellers using SIM cards and mobile telephones in Bangkok - Thailand

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Thailand may well be good value for money - entertainment, eating and other things are exceptionally good value when compared to other many countries. One thing however which is reasonably expensive compared to Singapore or Hong Kong for example, is telecommunications.

 On this page we continue our reviews of using mobile telephones while travelling around Asia, in this article we look at using mobile telephones whilst in Bangkok, Thailand. We also have reviews on using mobile telephones in Singapore and mobile telephones in Hong Kong.

 If you do not already own a mobile telephone then there are mobiles for rent at Bangkok International Airport - Suvarnabhumi. They are not cheap and to be honest it would be much better if you have your own as you will be required to pay a deposit of around 20,000 Baht for the phone and 5,000 Baht deposit for call usage. Then each day of rental will cost you around 250 Baht per day if under 14 days or around 150 Baht per day for more than 15 days. Then you need to pay for the calls, which on average are around 6 Baht per minute for a local call, compared to around 3 Baht per minute if you buy a pre paid SIM card in Bangkok. Such phones can be rented from the arrivals hall of Terminal the airport and need to be returned to the same place.

 Mobile phones can be bought all over Bangkok and it is difficult to advise one shop over another as they all sell the phones at very similar rates. MBK does have a wide selection of small phone shops and main dealers too, but so does most malls and shopping centres. If you prefer to pay with a credit card then all the major shopping centres such as Siam Paragon, Central World, Central Chidlom etc have sell electronics such as phones, tvs, dvd players etc. Most manufacturers - htc, Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Samsung etc - also have many of their own direct outlets. See our review of Shopping in Bangkok.

Most of you, will already have a mobile telephone so all you need to be able to do is make local calls without it costing you an arm and a leg, and to be able to offer your local customers or friends the ability to contact you on a local number while you run around Bangkok doing business or having fun.

 As in other countries the easiest way to do this is to buy a pre-paid SIM card which saves you paying for roaming charges and means your local friends or customers do not have to call long distance to reach you on your mobile.

 There are many providers in Thailand of pre-paid SIM cards but we recommend True (previously Orange) as it is one of the very few that offer you the ability to retain your number if the card is lost or stolen.

 With other networks, if your card is lost then basically tough, they will not even disconnect your old number so that whoever has "found" your mobile phone cannot use your number and SIM card.

 With True (Orange) when you purchase the SIM card, and we suggest you do this by going directly to a True shop rather than one of the many small mobile phone shops around Bangkok, then tell them that you want to have the SIM card protected by your passport number.

 If you do this, True will take down your details and add it to their computer system so that if the mobile telephone is lost, you can simply call True and inform them by giving your passport details for authorisation and they will deactivate the phone (SIM Card) immediately. Plus you will get to keep any remaining value on the card.

 True (Orange) shops are available all around Bangkok so just ask your hotel concierge for the closest. The cost of the pre paid SIM card from True (Orange) start from 99 Baht and top up cards are available in many sizes from 90 Baht to 300 Baht, 500 Baht and the maximum 1,000 Baht.

 These top up cards can be bought from anywhere (including 711) and the instruction to top up  are in English and Thai and could not be easier. The pre paid SIM card is valid for a 30 day period (very low compared to Singapore or Hong Kong which offers 6 months) so if you want to keep the same number for each time you visit Thailand then make sure you purchase enough top up cards.

 To make this easier you need to know that each value of top up card comes with a different life span. If you purchase a 300 Baht top up it will be valid 30 days from top up, a 500 Baht top up for 50 days and a 1,000 Baht top up for 365 days.

 One you have topped-up with 1,000 Baht  then every subsequent top up will be valid from a year from the date of top up. We hope this helps with your mobile telephone usage in Bangkok and if you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact us. See also: Free Long Distance Calls when Travelling

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