Purchasing a cell phone plan at the airport

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rochana1
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Purchasing a cell phone plan at the airport

Post by rochana1 » Sun Feb 26, 2017 9:07 am

My wife and I are moving permanently to Thailand. We will arrive at สุวรรณภูมิ airport in late March and it is my wish to convert our unlocked GSM iphones for use in Thailand by purchasing prepaid plans at the airport upon arrival so we can use them immediately to call family and friends in the USA and Thailand.

I hope to be able to purchase at the airport prepaid plans similar to the prepaid monthly plan we now have with AT&T here in the USA, which provides unlimited calling and texting with 4GB of data; actually, I am not sure we need that much data; now we use very little data since almost all our use is from our home WIFI, and I am sure this will also be the case in Thailand; where WIFI is not available, I will tether my laptop to my phone hotspot, but I am sure this will not be necessary often, if ever.

After comparing the various service providers, I have decided on DTAC due to its good customer service.

Will I be able to subscribe to the plan I want at the airport, and after subscribing to our plans at the airport and paying there for the first month with cash or debit card, we would like to subsequently be able to pay monthly by auto-debit to our Bangkok Bank savings account and be able to change our plan online if we wish. Is this a reasonable expectation?

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Re: Purchasing a cell phone plan at the airport

Post by PeteC » Sun Feb 26, 2017 1:11 pm

I am not an expert with this but I'll give you my thoughts to get the thread going.

1) I would think the airport kiosks may be jammed. You may want to simply get a "Happy Tourist" sim good for 15 days with unlimited internet for 599 Baht. (See the DTAC website for choices)....then once at your destination and relaxed, go into the local DTAC shop and convert your plan(s) to something more permanent.

2) To my knowledge only postpaid plans offer direct debit from your Thai bank account, and to set that up usually entails a) paper from the phone company > take to bank> set up> wait probably 30 days to activate. You may be able to set things up on prepaid with on-line top up's being debited to a card, but it may need to be a Thai bank credit/debit card. This is really another thing to take up with your local DTAC office once settled, and not at the airport.

3) Whatever number they give you at the airport you should be able to convert that to any other plan.

That's all I have. I think you probably already studied the DTAC website but if not, you should. Good luck. Pete :cheers:
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rochana1
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Re: Purchasing a cell phone plan at the airport

Post by rochana1 » Mon Feb 27, 2017 12:42 am

Thanks, Pete, for the information. When you purchase the "Happy Tourist" sim does it come with a phone number?

Sid L.

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Re: Purchasing a cell phone plan at the airport

Post by PeteC » Mon Feb 27, 2017 2:09 am

Yes, a SIM card by definition is, "A SIM card, also known as a Subscriber Identity Module, is a smart card that stores data for GSM cellular telephone subscribers. Such data includes user identity, location and phone number, network authorization data, personal security keys, contact lists and stored text messages......" As the definition says, when you get your SIM and set up your phone, you can store your contacts and other items to phone, to SIM or to both. In that way you don't lose everything if you change phones and keep the same SIM, or change SIM and keep the same phone.

When you eventually get to a DTAC office they may have a list of numbers you can choose from, or premium numbers that can be purchased if you want something specific/special. If that's the case they can cancel the "Happy Tourist" number/sim that you got at the airport and give you a new number. Forget about numbers like 8888888 or 9999999 etc as if available they'll cost you several thousand dollars. Pete :cheers:

EDIT: If me I wouldn't limit myself to DTAC who is the #3 by size, but look at AIS (#1) and TRUE (#2) as well. DTAC didn't win the government bidding for new 4G licenses and now find themselves trying to get into 4G by the back door. There were/are rumors that they may sell to another carrier or to a new player....but nothing is sure. Customer service with AIS and TRUE is comparable to what you'll get from DTAC. Look at all their web sites which can be a minefield if you're not Thai, but you can get through them. All have a "tourist" type SIM card that you can get first, then sit with them later and decide on the best long term plan for your needs.
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Re: Purchasing a cell phone plan at the airport

Post by PeteC » Mon Feb 27, 2017 2:50 am

Anyone else out there who can give the OP some advice from experience concerning carrier preference? Over the years I've been with AIS, then DTAC and now TRUE for the past 7 or 8 years and I'm satisfied with them...at the moment. If I recall we left the other two because of connectivity problems and not internet issues....but, the wife got a bit nationalistic I think and wanted to go with a real Thai company in TRUE. Pete :cheers:
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Re: Purchasing a cell phone plan at the airport

Post by PeteC » Mon Feb 27, 2017 4:36 am

Side note: When you get settled here get yourself a LINE account and a Facebook account (Messenger), get your family and friends in the States signed up as well. You'll save a fortune in international calls as with both you can make free calls to those who are also signed up. I prefer LINE, but that's just me as I'm familiar with it and use it a lot.

Side note #2: International calling is an extra and needs to be added on and turned on with any account. When you get your SIM at the airport tell them specifically that you want to be able to make international calls. Do the same when you upgrade your account from the "Tourist" SIM to something else. Pete :cheers:
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Re: RE: Re: Purchasing a cell phone plan at the airport

Post by bangkokbanjo » Mon Feb 27, 2017 8:03 am

prcscct wrote:Side note: When you get settled here get yourself a LINE account and a Facebook account (Messenger), get your family and friends in the States signed up as well. You'll save a fortune in international calls as with both you can make free calls to those who are also signed up. I prefer LINE, but that's just me as I'm familiar with it and use it a lot.

Side note #2: International calling is an extra and needs to be added on and turned on with any account. When you get your SIM at the airport tell them specifically that you want to be able to make international calls. Do the same when you upgrade your account from the "Tourist" SIM to something else. Pete :cheers:
Totally agree on this. I use line all the time to make video calls for free. Great app. Whats app is more common in the u.s. and works in a similar way

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