Phone in Thailand

Sep 16th, 2007, 03:59 AM
  #1  
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Phone in Thailand

We have just returned from our 10th trip to Thailand and this time we had our first Thai cell phone. We were pleasantly surprised how much we used it especially for directions for drivers. It was such a convenience many times to be able to check on appointments and to see if stores were open. I bought it from someone on Fodors that wanted to sell it. It was so easy to buy time and phone calls were very cheap-even to the states. I highly recommend it to all of you who make multiple trips like we do.
stitchintime is offline  
Sep 16th, 2007, 04:47 AM
  #2  
 
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Ok-- I need to have a phone in thailand that will enable me to easily and cheaply make calls to the U.S. Could someone tell me EXACTLY what I need to buy and do. I'm a moron when it comes to this kind of thing so need it told as if to a 2 year old. Thanks
glorialf is offline  
Sep 16th, 2007, 05:51 AM
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Gloria

If you can wait, buy your phone on the 4th (or is it 3rd) floor at MBK. You can get a used one for less baht. The phones you buy here in the US at cell phone places are "locked." They are tied to a specific service (Verizon, US Cellular, AT&T, etc. You want an unlocked phone so that you can choose which service you want, in Thailand.

Along with the unlocked phone, you buy a SIMM card, which gives you your phone number. Then you can buy your minutes, as needed.

I take my unlocked phone with me every time I travel to both Thailand and Europe. I just have to buy a SIMM card and minutes. Much cheaper than renting a phone each time I travel!! Plus, I have already saved all the phone numbers I use frequently and don't have to keep them on a piece of paper in my purse, for use as needed.

Hope this helps you a little. Maybe others will suggest the service to buy in Bangkok. I think I bought Orange last time ... not sure. If I share my phone with others who are going to BKK, they can use my same phone number and buy more minutes. It helps me "hold" the same phone number for a little longer. Otherwise it has to be changed each time, as it only last a few months.

Carol
simpsonc510 is offline  
Sep 16th, 2007, 05:55 AM
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stitch---i would love to buy your phone if you have no more use of it?? send me an e mail if it is availalbe??

[email protected]
rhkkmk is offline  
Sep 16th, 2007, 05:56 AM
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Is there a way to get an unlocked phone in the u.S. so I can give people my phone number before I leave? Even if it costs more money? Could I get the Sim card here or do I have to wait until I get to bangkok?

Thanks
glorialf is offline  
Sep 16th, 2007, 07:37 AM
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Gloria-
You can buy an unlocked phone on ebay, either new or used, depending on how much you want to spend.
You want to make sure the phone is listed as "unlocked". If you want to be able to use it all over the world, then buy a GSM or "Quad Band" phone.They can be had on ebay for as little as $30.

As for the SIM card, the least espensive option is to buy a SIM card once you get to Thailand.
Here are some instructions:
http://travelhappy.info/thailand/how...-mobile-phone/
If you want to have a number before you go, there are "Global Roaming SIMs" you can buy in advance, but you're going to pay about $50 for the card with little airtime on it. Then, the per minute charges are much, much higher (esp. in Thailand). These cards are a slight better deal for European travel where at least incoming calls are usually free to the user.
Here is an example of a global SIM
http://www.telestial.com/view_produc...T_ID=MSIM-PP01
In Thailand, outgoing calls are $1.29 a min and I think that's for calls within Thailand and to other countries.
If you buy a SIM card in Thailand, I think local calls are something like 7 baht a min.

Last year, we went to MBK and tried to buy a used cell but didn't find the prices substantially better than what we could have bought in the US. We didn't buy one. New ones were more expensive than the US.

Stichintime-did you buy a SIM card in Thailand, or were you able to top up the one in the phone?
Kristina is offline  
Sep 16th, 2007, 07:49 AM
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I would buy a brand new phone since you might have a problem with a used ebay phone(battery!). The low end phones are not expensive here only about 1,300 Baht for a brand new Nokia 1110 or 1200. Check out this web site for prices and I guess you can even order one from there too:

http://www.tohome.com/mobile.aspx

Hanuman is offline  
Sep 16th, 2007, 08:13 AM
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I checked on ebay and they have a Nokkia 1112 that they say is ann UNLOCKED GSM Dual Band Phone For Use With AT&T/Cingular, T-Mobile or Other GSM Carriers!* GSM 850/1900 Network

Would thaT WORK?

glorialf is offline  
Sep 16th, 2007, 08:14 AM
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and another question -- if someone in the US calls that cell phone in Thailand how much will it cost them?

Thanks!
glorialf is offline  
Sep 16th, 2007, 08:21 AM
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Gloria
DH got an unlocked fancy phone and went with T-Mobile. I personally think it is toooooooo expensive to consider taking abroad!! Plus, the phone works lousy IMO. Now, DH borrows MY BKK phone if he is going without me to BKK or Europe. He has discovered that it is the least expensive option.

Carol
simpsonc510 is offline  
Sep 16th, 2007, 09:03 AM
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Gloria-
Is there any chance you want to use this phone anywhere other than Thailand? if so, then you really want a tri or quad band phone.
Here's an article which lists the frequencies used in different countries.
http://www.thetravelinsider.info/roa...bandphones.htm
That phone might not work there.

I've not bought a phone yet, but the ones I've been looking at are Motorola V180 and V220. Both are GSM phones and can be had new, unlocked for $30-$50 plus shipping.
Here are some examples:
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...MEWA:IT&ih=009
or
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...MEWA:IT&ih=012

Can anyone tell me why I should not consider either of these phones?
Kristina is offline  
Sep 16th, 2007, 09:38 AM
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The phone we bought from some one here on Fodors is a Nokia 1110 and the SIM card had not expired yet. All we had to do is buy minutes and we bought 300B card or about $9. Local calls are 2B per minute and oversees calls were about 10-15B. It was so convenient to use the phone for various reasons and to call the states to check on our parents. I think SIM cards are about 200B or $6. I travel to Thailand 2 times a year so I think it is well worth it for people who travel to Thailand on a regular basis.
stitchintime is offline  
Sep 16th, 2007, 11:30 AM
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If your US phone is either T-Mobile or AT&T, you're on the GSM network. All you have to do is call your provider and ask them to unlock your phone since you're going abroad and need to use it there. I just did this through T-Mobile yesterday. They email you a code to enter to unlock your phone. Then, once you get to Thailand, buy a local SIM card and insert into your phone. Voila. You can also just ask your cell phone provider (one of two above only again) to activate your phone for international roaming. However, it won't be cheap to make calls that way. If you have Sprint or Verizon, you should consider buying a cheap unlocked GSM phone on eBay, or just buy a pay-as-you-go phone once you get to Thailand.
smartcookie is offline  
Sep 16th, 2007, 12:04 PM
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If you do have your USA phone unlocked, make sure you do this AND TEST IT before you go abroad.

We didn't the first time and it turned out our unlock code was incorrect. Only way to recify the problem at that point was to buy a new phone in india.

To test your unlock, go down to the local T-mobile or AT&T and ask them to try a different (non-t-mobil) SIM card in your phone. Also ask them to check that your particular phone has the band of service that you will need in the foregin country.
If the SIM works, and you have the 800/850/900 whatever band, you're set. Just buy a local SIM car when you get to Thailand.

lcuy is offline  
Sep 16th, 2007, 12:16 PM
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One point though...using a foreign SIM card will not allow you to use your regular phone number. If you want to use your phone and your phone number too, you need to set up international roaming with your phone service.

With phones that have SIM cards, the SIM card is the brain of the phone, and the phone itself is just the power supply, keypad and speakers. The SIM card has the phone number and the cumputer stuff that allows you to connect to the cell towers.

Some phone companies in the US give you phones where the SIM portion is built into the phone. This means you can't take out the SIM and put in a foreign one.

AT&T and T-mobile phones have removeable SIMs, but when you get the phone from them, they've included a "lock" that doesn't let the phone work with different SIMS. They want you to only be able to use the phone with their service, presumably to keep you as one of their own customers. Bowing to customer pressure, they now will unlock your phone, although sometimes they make you tell them you're going out of the country.

Buying a pre-paid SIM card in the country where you travel allows you to make much cheaper calls in that area, and usually cheaper calls to the US than you would get by using international roaming. The disadvantage is that people calling you from the US will have to pay the Long distance fee to you.
lcuy is offline  
Sep 16th, 2007, 02:47 PM
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Gloria and Kristina,

You should be aware that a lot of phone models sold in the USA will have a different frequency range then the rest of the world. Example - Kristina your V180 sold in the US will work on the 850/900/1900 network. A V180 elsewhere(non US) will work on the 900/1800/1900 network. Same thing with a lot of the Nokia model as well.

http://www.gsmarena.com/motorola_v180-647.php

For Thailand the mobile phone companies uses the 900/1800/1900 network so your US V180 WILL NOT work with the 900 network which include AIS - the biggest service provider in Thailand. Also, the V180 and V220 are very old phones first released in 2003 and 2004.

http://www.gsmworld.com/roaming/gsminfo/cou_th.shtml
Hanuman is offline  
Sep 16th, 2007, 03:03 PM
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I think carol(simpson) has the best idea. You won't need a number until you get to thailand and put a thai sim card in anyway so no use in getting a card or phone earlier.

At mbk they will sell you cheap quad phone that works and sell you a cheap thai sim card and install it for you and answer all your questions and be right there to answer any other questions you have about the phone.

Aloha!
hawaiiantraveler is offline  
Sep 16th, 2007, 04:13 PM
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peter--good advice...we shall do that...no sense making mistakes....
rhkkmk is offline  
Sep 16th, 2007, 04:14 PM
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out trip will have us in thailand, malaysia, singapore and bali....does anyone know how these countries are different for phone services...is each one different and unique?? thanks
rhkkmk is offline  
Sep 16th, 2007, 05:05 PM
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Bob,

Indonesia GSM 900 & 1800.
Malaysia GSM 900, 1800 & 3g 2100.
Singapore GSM 900, 1800 & 3g 2100.

You'll be pretty safe with a 900 and/or 1800 GSM phone in S.E. Asia.
Hanuman is offline  

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