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Thailand has become one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations. Millions of international tourists entering Thailand have the same concern about whether to buy a Thai SIM card or not, and which one to get?
Thailand’s communications infrastructure is as good as, if not better than, places such as the USA and UK. The country proudly boasts the latest in 4G mobile data technology and high-speed Internet connections. If you want to stay in touch with family and friends and share your amazing Thailand travel experience, then all you need is the right tourist SIM card. Almost everywhere you travel in Thailand you will pick up a strong signal for both 4G and cellular connections.
In this article, we are going to take a look at the best tourist SIM card option available in the now very popular ‘Land of Smiles’.
Unless your current mobile SIM allows free high-speed 4G connections overseas and reasonably priced international calls, then the best alternative is to purchase a tourist SIM card in Thailand. The benefits of having a Thai SIM include having a local Thai number and hassle-free access to Thailand’s 3G and 4G networks. Plus, with the right SIM, you will have more than enough data for a one- or two-week trip.
Many tourists have bad experiences with their home-country SIM card in which their service provider cut them off because they were using their SIM card abroad. Purchasing a Thai SIM card will eradicate these snags.
In short, if you are looking for a reliable, speedy and hassle-free 4G and cellular connection, then a Thai tourist SIM is most certainly the way to go.
The best company in Thailand offering tourist SIM cards is TrueMove, which offers pre-paid SIMs. The company is well-known in Thailand as it also provides cable and satellite TV (TrueVisions) as well as high-speed broadband Internet (TrueMove) to Thai homes and businesses, for which it has a very good reputation.
Widespread signal towers across the country: TrueMove’s tourist SIM card is by far the most popular, simply because the company has 4G and cellular towers that stretch far and wide throughout the country. Its communication infrastructure stretches from as high up as the mountains of Chiang Mai down to remote islands. Wherever you decide to travel in Thailand the TrueMove 4G and cellular connections rarely seem to fade.
Widespread customer service center coverage: Another important quality TrueMove has is its customer service set up. There are TrueMove shops in almost every shopping center in the country and on most busy high streets. Furthermore, when you buy your SIM, you can use the free call support number, which is 1242 from any True SIM. When you call the multi-lingual support team, you will be able to speak with a Chinese, English, Japanese, or Thai language representative.
Convenient technical support: Other places you can get technical support for your TrueMove tourist SIM card include most 7-Elevens and Family Marts.
The good news is that you do not have to look very hard to get your hands on a Thai tourist SIM card from TrueMove.
Here are just a few places you will be able to purchase one of their tourist packages:
1. Airports (international and domestic)
2. TrueMove shops
3. 7-Eleven convenient stores
4. Family Mart shops
5. Tesco Lotus Express convenient stores
6. Most mobile phone stores
Important note: Be sure to have your passport at the ready, because without it you will not be able to purchase a tourist SIM. Thai law stipulates that every SIM card must be registered to the purchaser’s ID.
There are several pre-paid packages that you will be able to purchase from as little as 49 baht via the Super Saver package. This provides 300 Mbps max speed bandwidth, which costs 1 baht per MB, and around 25 minutes of calls. As a result, the low-cost SIM cards are generally only good for very short trips, and even then you may find yourself topping up for more 4G and cellular credit quite quickly.
You can top up in any of the stores mentioned in the “Where can I get a Thai Sim SIM card?” section above. Top-ups cost from 40 baht up to 500 baht. You can then transfer credit to be used specifically for calls or Internet connectivity. Topping up in this way is certainly not as convenient as signing up to the Tourist SIM 599 package, which we will cover in the next section.
In fact, if you are looking for a decent 4G and cellular package for tourists, you are spoiled for choice because TrueMove has several packages available.
The best package deal available from TrueMove is the pre-paid Tourist SIM 599. TrueMove is Thailand’s most used mobile company. Its tourist SIM costs just 599 baht, as the name implies, and you will benefit from 8GB of high-speed internet and 50 baht (appx. 50 minutes) of talk time.
The SIM usually card lasts for 15 days before you will have to top up again. You will also get free talk time to any other True SIM card; while all other calls are 0.99 baht per minute.
With the True package, you will get the best signal in the country as TrueMove boasts the largest number of 4G/cellular towers in Thailand. It is perfect if you have hired a car and need to use apps such as Google Maps or Drive to get from A to B.
Other networks such as DTAC and AIS tend to suffer from a lack of signal in some areas, and Internet speeds tend to slow down. This rarely happens with TrueMove. Even high up in the mountains of Chiang Mai, when the 4G does cut off, there is a GPRS signal, so you can still get an Internet connection.
On top of this, the tourist SIMs from DTAC or AIS only offer 6 GB of high-speed Internet. The only advantage to AIS and DTAC tourist SIMs is they offer 100 baht of free calls, which is negligible compared to having an additional 2GB of data.
1. The most popular Thai SIM from the most popular company (TrueMove).
2. 599-baht one-time purchase
3. 8 GB of high-speed Internet (2 GB more than DTAC/AIS)
4. 50 baht (50 minutes) of free calls
5. Countrywide cellular/4G coverage
6. Usually 15 days before top up needed
7. Low rate international calls (see below)
8. Most effective and stable signal in Thailand
For those of you who want to call home, there is an international call option using 00600 + country code + area code + phone number. You can call landlines or mobile phones anywhere in the world for as little as 1 baht per minute using this option, which provides the cheapest international telephone calls in the country.
Countries that fall under the 1 baht per minute bracket for mobile and landlines include China, Hong Kong, Canada, and the USA. If the 50 baht’s worth of free calls is not enough for you, then you can top up in any 7-Eleven or Family Mart store to gain extra credits.
Another important point to make is that you should ensure that your mobile phone is unlocked. If it isn’t then in most cases, you will not be able to use a Thai tourist SIM.
You may be able to get your phone unlocked in Thailand depending on the make and model, and this can cost anything between 400 baht and 1,000 baht. You will not be able to get your phone unlocked in any of the TrueMove stores, so you will need to find an IT or mobile phone marketplace usually found on the bottom floor of most shopping centers. In Bangkok, the best places are MBK, Seacon Square, and the basement/ground floor of most Central Plaza shopping malls.
Finally, before you do get your phone unlocked, check your mobile phone provider’s policy on having your phone unlocked.
Topping up is easy. Either go to a True Store and get a ticket, use a roadside top-up machine, or go to 7-Eleven or Family Mart and ask for an over-the-counter top-up. The process is super easy:
1. Tell the staff you would like a TrueMove SIM card top-up.
2. Tell them how much you want to top up.
3. Enter your number into the top-up device.
4. Take your receipt and wait for the SMS confirmation of the top-up.
You can check your pre-paid SIM balance at any time by pressing #123# and then the call button. If you have forgotten your number, then just press *833# and then the call button.
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