What mobile company should you choose in Thailand?
Picking a mobile carrier is always a difficult choice with no right answer. What works great for some is just unbearably awful for others. Thailand is no exception, but at least the offer is limited to three main companies.
In the end, you have to choose between DTAC, AIS and True. In this article we will try to help you decide.
1. AIS (or One-2-Call)
AIS is the largest mobile provider in Thailand, with over 40 million subscribers and 97% nationwide coverage. From such a big company, you can expect all the normal add-ons like WiFi, Internet, devices and pay-per-view TV.
One-2-Call, which is how they call the prepaid service, has many different kinds of packages, promotions, and add-ons. You can choose between a standard SIM to top with add-ons (like internet or extra calls) or go for the all-in-one package to begin with.
The main problem here is not all the content on the website is translated into English, so you can easily get lost on never-ending text describing the different packages and promotions. The childish design of the website and the confusing terms do not help too, but once you get your number you can manage it easier to manage through their app and the e-Service.
If you are all about speed, keep in mind that AIS is the only main provider not offering 4G/LTE yet. It will come in 2016.
In any case, if you can find a package that suits your needs, it is an acceptable choice.
- Recommended SIM: Smartphone SIM, changing the promotion to an iSmart Package
- Tourist SIM available starting 199 THB for 7 days
- Addon of 1 GB / month for 199 THB
2. DTAC (or Happy)
DTAC is the second largest mobile network in Thailand, with 28 million customers. If you are experiencing a deja-vu while watching the logo that is because DTAC Thailand is owned by Telenor, which operates mobile networks in other many countries, some of them under the same name.
Happy is the name of the prepaid service of DTAC, but both services often intertwine making it difficult to differentiate them. Unlike AIS, DTAC is pretty straightforward when it comes to packages and add-ons, with a better-designed website translated into English.
You can choose between tons of main packages. Unlike AIS, you can easily find standard packages with zero fixed monthly cost, like the Smartphone SIM. You can then complete the deal with an add-on package.
Tourist SIMs and packages go up for a 30 days package (429 THB, 3 GB).
- Recommended SIM: Smartphone SIM with addon promotion
- Tourist SIM available starting 229 THB for 7 days
- Addon of 1.5 GB / month for 199 THB
3. TrueMove H
TrueMove H is the mobile division of True, a telecommunication giant better known for its internet service. It also has a lot of different SIM packages (around 16 by the time we write this) but after taking a look at the website you will notice that it is not as developed as the other companies.
The offer of TrueMove alone is a bit weak, but it can be a very good choice if you are going to take advantage of other services like TV, internet at home or WiFi Hotspots. True has, probably, the best offer of combination packages so it is probably more interesting for expats or long-time travellers than for a short-term tourist.
- Recommended SIM: iNet
- Tourist SIM available starting at 49 THB.
- Addon of 1 GB / month for 199 THB
Which one is for you?
There are many factors to consider when choosing a mobile carrier, especially if you are staying in Thailand for long.
For a short period, a tourist SIM from any of them will do just fine, but keep in mind that the AIS tourist SIM lasts only for a week. DTAC Tourist SIM seems like a better deal, with more options.
For a longer period, you have to consider more factors. Are you interested in a package including home internet, hotspots or TV? Then True can be the right choice for you. If you only want to use the smartphone and you want to have more control on your packages and expenses, probably DTAC will suit you better.
You might also be interested in our article about WiFi Hotspots.