While it’s perfectly possible to use a foreign SIM card in Thailand, doing so will usually invite crippling international roaming charges. Infinitely more economical an option is to acquire a Thai SIM card after arriving in the country. The big three Thai mobile operators AIS, dtac and TrueMove H (in order of market share) collectively offer dozens of different kinds of SIM card as well as an almost bewildering array of add-on –and better value- voice, data and combined voice and data plans to suit every need and budget. Accounting for roughly 90% of all domestic mobile subscriptions, Thai pre-paid (‘Pay-As-You-Go’) SIM cards are inexpensive to buy, require only your passport to register (at the time of purchase) and readily available. AIS, dtac and TrueMove H all offer their own selection of named SIM cards with each one differing by purchase price, default call, text and data rates, minimum usage requirements and card validity in addition to the amount of free credit and mobile internet (3G or 4G/LTE) allowance. For passengers disembarking their international flight at Chiang Mai airport, Airports of Thailand (AOT) have partnered with TrueMove H and, within the baggage claim area, distribute complimentary pre-paid SIM cards. Otherwise, pre-paid SIM cards from AIS start at just 50 baht (up to 599 baht); those from dtac cost between 49 and 599 baht while those from TrueMove H 49 to 299 baht. In general, the more pricey the SIM card, the greater the amount of pre-loaded credit and the more generous the limits on the use of mobile data
Which of the trio of mobile operators (or perhaps MyCat or TOT) do you prefer and why? Do you use your Thai SIM card for voice calls, 3G/4G mobile internet or both? How much do you usually top up each month? We’re keen to find out so by all means leave us a comment below!
If you enjoyed this post, be sure to check out the Introduction to our series about the true cost of living in Chiang Mai with separate articles detailing Accommodation, Alcohol & Tobacco, Bank Charges, Food & Drink, Health Care, Immigration Fees, Internet Access, Transportation, Utilities & Laundry as well as Work Spaces.