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Telephone communication in Thailand


Telephone communication in Thailand

When you come to Thailand (or any other country), there is always a question: How to keep in touch with your friends and the loved ones? How to make a call back home cheaper, while staying in Thailand??

You can forget about trying to make a call using your sim card from your country, the tariffs for roaming are so high that you might only be able to say: "Mom, I am in Thailand" before you run out of credits. Although we agree that there are people who can afford a phone call to the moon, this article is not about them.

So what are the ways of making a phone call from Thailand:

1 You can use Skype,
2 Use a local phone card for international (oversea call) calls via a street payphone
3 Use a sim card of any Thai mobile operator.
You can still go to any internet café, which has «oversea call» service.

1)     The cheapest way would of course be Skype.

The calls will be free, and the quality of communication - reasonable. However, it is often necessary to make a call on the landline or a cell phone. In this case, you must add on your Skype account a certain amount of money (standard payment - 10 dollars or euros). You can pay either directly with a credit card or via PayPal. For those who are using Skype often there are convenient tariff plans, including the unlimited one..
By the way, Skype is not the only program for making unlimited phone calls. There are other programs through which you can call to another computer, to landlines and cell phones in other countries. However in our opinion Skype is still the leader.

2)    Oversea Call Card and payphone.

A card for international calls can be purchased at any 7-Eleven and Family Mart stores. You will have to use the bright yellow street payphones. A short manual with the sequence of the dial is in the booth. The cost of such calls is pretty much the same as the cost of using local SIM cards.

3)    Using the SIM card of the local mobile operator.

There are three mobile operators in Thailand: DTAC, AIS (1-2-Call) and TrueMove. The following information applies to all three operators:
Sim card of the three main operators can be bought in shopping centers, cell phone stores and even in 7-Eleven and Family Mart. Their cost ranges from 50 to 500 baht, depending on your plan, promotions and the balance of the SIM card

How to activate?

Your dealer will help you activate the sim card, although for some cards (eg, DTAC Happy) activation happens automatically when inserted in the phone. PIN code is not required. By the way, if you plan to stay in Thailand for a long time (more than 1-2 months), it is useful to go to the nearest office of the mobile operator with a passport and register the number to your name. This will allow in case of the loss or damage of the SIM card to block the account, to restore the number and will get you rid of all the hassle associated with changing the number. For those who have a work permit in Thailand, such registration will allow to use affordable and unlimited data plans with a credit payment system (prepaid plans for which you can buy packages that include unlimited or very cheap calls at certain hours and to certain numbers are available without registration).

How to deposit money on your account.

The best way would be to purchase prepaid cards at the same point of sale where you can buy a SIM card. Basically those spots are 7-Elevens and Family Marts. These cards can be of different denominations - from a few dozen to a few hundred baht. Instructions on how to activate the card are written on it. Also, you can do it at the most of the mobile phones stores: give money and the phone number to the seller and he will transfer money from his phone to yours.

Similarly, the same way you can replenish your account in these stores by check, you will be given at checkout. Tell the cashier that you want to deposit money into the account, name the mobile operator, and give him the required amount of money. In return you will be given a check with brief instructions and an activation code which you need to dial on your phone.

To activate Dtac code dial * 100 * code from the check # and press call. To activate AIS code (1-2 call) dial * 120 * code from the check # and press call. For True Move dial * 123 * code from the check # and press call. If you can not not figure it out - ask the seller, he will do it for you.

Another way of adding credits to your Thai mobile number is through the terminal, placed next to the cash register. Tell the cashier that you want to deposit money into the account and give him money. Cashier prompts you to enter your phone number in the terminal, such as those in which you need to enter the pin code of a credit card. Please note that this payment option is not offered in all minimarkets, but only where such terminal is installed.

And yet there is another way - with the help of self-payment terminals (usually orange), installed near the doors of minimarkets such as 7/11 and Family Mart, next to the electronic scales. Keep in mind that there will be taken commission. By increasing the amount of refillment the commission percentage declines ranging from 10%.

How to use it:

- Choose language;
- Press the icon with the phone;
- Enter the phone number without pluses and codes;
- Choose the desired amount;
- Put the money in and click "OK."

After that, your phone will receive an SMS with notification of incoming money. The terminal receives paper money and coins. This is convenient, because it does not give change but keep it in the system tied to your number for another 60 days and is eliminated if not used..

Oh, and of course you can refill your account at the offices of your operator. Typically, they are located in large shopping centers such as Big-C, Tesco Lotus and Central Festival.

Validity period of the SIM card.

If you have purchased a standard rate SIM card then every time you add funds on your account you prolong its life for one more year. Small denomination prepaid card from 20 to 40 baht will not extend this period). You can also extend the life of the SIM card with money (30 days for 2 baht). All the details are here: http://www.dtac.co.th/en/home.html

Extend the validity of the SIM card (DTAC only):
- 30 days - *113*30*9# (2 baht),
- 90 days - *113*90*9# (6 baht),
- 180 days - *113*180*9# (12 baht).

You can extend it for a year more though you can’t extend it for a period longer than a year..
Please note that after some time after the expiration the SIM card is blocked and then the number is re-sold again.
How to call. Dial the country code, area code (or mobile operator) and the number. This standard call will be charged about 28 baht / min.

Using the IP-telephony codes (009, 007, 008), the cost can be reduced to 5-9 baht / min.

009 - 5 baht / minute - per second billing,
008 - 7 Baht / min - per minute rate.
007 - 9 baht / min - charging every 30 seconds.
004 - 4 baht / min.

Using IP telephony replace the sign "+" with any of the following codes: 009, 008, 007 or 004. Exact rate for international calls can be specified at DTAC website..

Note that you cannot use these codes when sending SMS!

If you forget about it and send SMS over IP telephony it will not reach the destination. The price of SMS using recipient’s standard number is 3 to 9 baht.

Roaming in Thailand

Inside Thailand there is no division into zones, and there is no such thing as a "national roaming", that is, it does not matter which area of the country you are in. The cost of calls to local phones starts from 1 to 3 baht / min, depending on your data plan (at DTAC, for example, you can find out your rate by dialing * 103 * 9 # and press call). All incoming calls / SMS are free of charge.

How to dial local numbers

When you purchase a SIM card, your number will be displayed on the package as: 08 * - *** - ** - **. Remember that this format can only be used for calls to/from local numbers! When calling from abroad, do not forget to replace "0" with the code of Thailand "66." The number should look like this: + 66-8 * - *** - ** - **.

The length of landline тnumbers is one digit shorter. For example: +66 (0) 77-123-456+66 (0) 77-123-456. Where 77 - Samui code. Phuket - 76, Pattaya - 38, Bangkok - 2 Bangkok city numbers have 7-digits, so first comes number two, and the total length of the number is the same as all over Thailand.

Now a few words about the Thai tradition of using dashes.

Number 077 123456-8077 123456-8 means that the company has a certain number of fixed lines that differ only in the last character. That is, you can call them on three numbers: 077 123456, 077 123457 and 077 123458. Just count the digits: in a city number, after the code of the province, there should be 6 digits, in Bangkok - 7 digits. If there are more digits and they are separated by a dash - the number represents a few more different numbers.

Number written as follows: 089 123-4567 (568-570) does not mean any extension numbers, it means that the company / person has four cell phone numbers: 089 123-4567, 089 123-4568, 089 123-4569 and 089 123-4570.
If it is necessary to use an additional set of digits, they will not be listed in brackets but will stand alone, after the phone number, marked "ex.", "ext.".

Local mobile operators. Briefly, just the main points.

The best coverage and the best signal quality in Thailand (according to subjective opinion of the people we know) is by DTAC. Even on the most remote island you will have connection. Although ... we can’t guarantee that 100%..
The tariff plan of this operator, which is offered to all the tourists coming to Thailand for a short time is called Happy Turist SIM. More information here: http://store.dtac.co.th/en/happytouristsim..

Some useful features:

•    Customer service - 1678. For English language press "77".
The operator provides instructions for:
 - Mobile internet connection (unlimited access for a week - 300 baht, which should already be on your balance at the time of the call)
 - Set up international roaming services,
 - and so on.
•    Mobile Internet activation:
- *104*3*9# - usd service menu for applying for various Internet packages.
- *104*19*9# 2 hours of internet access for 9 baht.
- *104*30*9# 3 hours of internet access for 15 baht.
- *104*391*9# 24 hours unlimited access. Sometimes after 200 mb the speed decreases up to 384 kbit / s.

After entering the usd-command you will receive an SMS stating that you can now use the Internet. When a prepaid package is over you get another SMS.

•    Balance  - *101*9#
•    Internet package (how much is left of it) - *101*1*9#
•    Your number  - *102*9#
•    Deposit money on your account  - *100*СardSerialNo.CardIDNo.#
•    30 baht on your account if you have ran out of credits - *110*9#
•    Transfer money to another number - *112*number*amount_(20-200 baht)*9#
•    Check your current data plan - *103*9#
•    “Call me” service - *114*number*9#

You can activate international roaming the following way (works only in Thailand before you get into the roaming zone):
      1. Dial *1018 and follow the voice instructions, and then wait for SMS.
      2. Dial *118*9#
      3. If your account is connected to the Happy Web Service on the mobile operator's website, then enter in your account's control panel and enable roaming from there. Rates for the use of this service in each country is better to specify on the operator's website.

Note: To receive automatic response in English (and not in Thai) all requests must end with * 9 # (in the above numbers it is already taken into account).

To guarantee the preservation of the phone number (in the case of damage or loss of the SIM card it will be restored free of charge) it is recommended to register it. You can do it in the office of the operating company (with a passport), or on their website

Next operator is AIS, also known as One-2-Call. For more details - please visit their website http://www.ais.co.th/12call/en/

Some useful features:

•    Check your balance - *121#
•    Your phone number - *545#
•    Activation of a new SIM card – 900120
•    Adding funds from a pre-paid card -*120*Top-up-код#
•    Turn off GPRS - *129*1#
•    Turn on GPRS - *129*2#
•    Статус услуги GPRS - *129#

And finally, the operator True aka True Move. http://www.truemove.com/

•    Customer Service – 1331
•    Refill the balance: *123*номер с карты пополнения#
•    Checking the balance: #123#
•    Your number: *833#

By the way! In Thailand, it is possible to transfer your number from one operator to another. All the details are specified at the service provider offices.

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