Warning: AIS International Phone Roaming

Discussion in 'General Discussion / News / Information' started by DavidFL, May 9, 2010.

  1. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Well guys my Vietnam trip was a ripper & whilst there I figured I'd use my local Thai phone number with international roaming for the week & a bit I was there. The phone was only used for email, very few phone calls & SMS + some nightly internet.

    It was a bit of a shock then a few days ago & the bill arrived: 28,000 baht!
    :mrgreen: :oops: :wtf: :mrgreen: :oops: :wtf:

    That calculates to 3,000 baht a day whilst in VIetnam & is probably more than I spent daily on fuel / food / accommodation, so that the cost in Vietnam has doubled.

    OUCH!

    The moral of the story: DON'T use international roaming, but buy a local sim card.

    :idea: :idea: :idea:
     
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  3. tonykiwi

    tonykiwi Ol'Timer

    Sorry to hear of your experience there David, roaming is certainly a total ripoff in many countries. My own experience is that the data useage is the area where they totally screw you, however roaming rates for calls and texts are a problem also.

    Buying a local sim card is good advice for sure. The additional problem with roaming is not only the making of calls but the receiving of them. If I take my NZ based mobile to UK or Thailand, I can accept calls with no problem, however the system creates a cost to be between New Zealand and wherever I am to transfer the call to me.

    My solutions are really a mixture of the following:
    Buy local sim card, 1-2 call or similar.
    Have guest house/accomodation with free internet to the room
    carry memory stick on key fob to utilise public internet services
    Carry netbook with my entire business software on it and either use legitimate wireless access points and pay the fee or find an unsecured one to tap into
    Make good use of Skype for free contact with work and family.

    I did read an article recently that there is a huge consumer push to bring workwide roaming rates down. Hopefully this will start to happen with more availablility of alternative suppliers and alternative methods of communicating

    T
     
  4. daewoo

    daewoo Ol'Timer

    International Roaming and Roaming charges in general are a complete rip-off...

    When we installed the In-Building Mobiles Coverage at Don Muang the carriers all paid us to install so many antenas in the arrivals area and bagagage claim that you could almost touch them at the same time... the coverage of each antenna is a radius of about 30m - so you need one every 60m, but they were spaced about every 3m...

    Your phone picks up the carrier with the strongest coverage, and usually stays attached to that network for the duration of your trip... the additional revenue from International Roamins is so much that the opperators were willing to over-engineer by that much to gain that revenue...

    So while DavidFLs post referrs to AIS, it isn't so much AIS screwing you, as whatever opperator you have roamed onto screwing AIS... but you can be sure that AIS is screwing their customers when they come to Thailand... The opperators all complain about the other opperators screwing their customers, but then charge equally high roaming charges to customers roaming onto their network...

    And the screwing is even harder when you use Data... no lube even considered for that...

    Cheers,
    Daewoo
     
  5. LivinLOS

    LivinLOS Ol'Timer

    One to watch out for is also data charges.. If not set up right smartphones will be chewing through data all day..
     
  6. thaicbr

    thaicbr Ol'Timer

    Agreed its the data that screws things up. saying that though i was recently in the UK and i used my Thai number on DTAC. i kept the calls to the min and it seems ok. they also have info leaflets in English at the DTAC shops (thats rare in Thailand). I was on the one charge set up. where every network in the country is the same price.
    Allan
     
  7. Beemerfem

    Beemerfem Member

    I have a question or 2. I only have a cell phone now as it doesn't make sense to pay for a land line and I mostly ride alone so if I need help (and have service) I can use it. When I come the Thailand I'd rather not carry my phone. It seems one can just buy a phone card or a local phone. I don't use the phone often so it would be used just to let folks know I'm ok. I've never used Skype and admit to not quite understanding how it works.

    Any suggestions as to the least expensive way to proceed? I'd hate to bring my only phone and lose it (and have a high bill). Thanks.
    Iris
     
  8. mactbkk

    mactbkk Ol'Timer

    Least expensive way to use a cell phone here in Thailand, or Laos, is to just buy a cheapie Nokia when you get here, baht 900-1,000, about $30 U.S. Then buy pre-paid 1-2-CALL SIM for about baht 50-90, less than $3 U.S. Load it up as needed with time from baht 50-500 shots. No camera, no WiFi, no GPS, but this is the type of phone I've been using for lots of years.

    Going to Laos? Use the same phone, just pick up a cheap pre-paid ELT or M-Phone SIM there, and the time units. Works fine.

    Mac
     
  9. daewoo

    daewoo Ol'Timer

    If you go Via Bangkok, MBK is the place to go for cheap 2nd hand phones, but I must say, I haven't found them to be that cheap... $Au30 for an old, big, phone... here in Aus you can buy a new no frills phone for $Au130 anyway... with Warranty and a battery that isn't likely to already be on it's last legs... I reckon try and find a friend who will give you one of their old phones that are just sitting in their draw somewhere...

    I always get a Happy SIM from 7/11 or the bookstore at Suvarnabhumi Airport, 99 baht and it includes 30baht worth of calls... you can top it up with any amount you like at the 7/11... I use this, 'cause my mates that spent many years in Thailand building the networks for all of the different opperators reckon that DTAC has good coverage...

    Cheers,
    Daewoo
     
  10. Noel Akers

    Noel Akers Ol'Timer

    Iris,
    You can still buy NEW basic Nokia phones here for 900 bt. I have had one of these for about 5 years. Its been dropped in the ocean twice and in a toilet once. Each time I've immediately removed the battery , washed the phone in fresh water and dried thoroughly....sun or hair drier. Its certainly a no frills way to go but works for me.
    As Daewoo said can top up anywhere in 7/11 etc .
     
  11. bigjohn

    bigjohn Member

    Sawadee krap Khun David
    John mi pen ha, took wella, pom pai Laos, si turasap pen AIS, John mai tum turasap, tae mi bin paeng maak.
    pom pai Ais muang Thai, poot " muar lai, pom pai lao, pom mai tum turasap tum mai mi bin? " Ais do computor som bin John. John mai hai tung, AIS mai ow, AIS hai credit turasap BigJohn.
    Chokdee Krap Luang David
    Arja Khun David dai som doi?
     
  12. oneton

    oneton Ol'Timer

    Hi David
    I just completed a trip to Spain. After some surfing I found there were AIS roaming packages available that give better rates than standard. Not sure about Vietnam. I do recall using a hotel phone in Vietnam d/t urgent business - approx 70 USD for 5 minutes to Thailand!
     
  13. Beemerfem

    Beemerfem Member

    Noel and others,
    I've been following the thread and appreciate all the info. I have one more technical question. I found an old phone in the drawer that is Nokia. How can I tell if I can use a sim card? I guess I'm a bit confused about whether this card fits in the phone or what. I make it a point to avoid being too tech saavy - it affects my brain. :crazy:
    Thanks
     
  14. roaddhist

    roaddhist Ol'Timer

    The sim card is often under the battery. Turn phone off first and then remove the battery. The sim is under the shiny spring-loaded flap. Better yet, just take your phone to the DTAC, True Move, AIS stores near the entrances to the malls (in Chiang Mai, anyway) and give them 50 baht (or whatever) for the sim card and prepay a couple of hundred baht for phone time and they'll just set you up with a working phone when you walk out the door. They have a list of calling plans to choose from to minimize costs. True Move has (or had) one called "Inter Sim" that claims 1 baht a minute phone time to the US versus the 5 BPM you get dialing "009" and "1" to the US. I bought and set up a majicJack for $20 in the US and can call anyone there for free from any computer I plug it into that has an internet connection. SKYPE and Yahoo! have free or very cheap VOIP (Voice-Over-Internet-Protocol) services that would be less trouble than even doing that but don't allow for local calls (but the majicJack doesn't either).
     
  15. daewoo

    daewoo Ol'Timer

    I typed up a long and helpful reply to this yesterday, and it never appeared :(

    As above, the SIM card is usually under the battery... turn the phone off, take the battery out, rectangular piece of plastic with the corner cut off, about 1cm x 3cm...

    Otherwise, while the battery is out, check out the model number, e.g. 6110, or N95, or E71... put the model number into Google, and you will find out if it is a CDMA phone or GSM...

    CDMA was popular with US Network Owners, while most everywhere else built GSM networks... Australia, being typically screwy, had both :roll: ... CDMA phones do not have a SIM card, so can't be used in Thailand (other than using International Roaming and your US number, think VERY EXPENSIVE)...

    Cheers,
    Daewoo.
     
  16. Beemerfem

    Beemerfem Member

    Daewoo,
    You're so cute! Don't worry, things get lost here and there but the important stuff gets done sooner or later (old folks talk for "no worries." Thanks for extra bit. I be goin ova to the phone and gettin dat info rite now and luk it up! Thanks. :happy4: I admit that I would always rather spend less than more. The whole time I was in Vietnam I didn't make any calls so I know people will survive if all they get is an email. Besides, I'd rather be riding and taking pics (though not necessarily at the same time). :wink:
    Iris

    BTW - do any of you folks have any experience riding in Central/South America? I'm heading down to Belize and have looked at tour prices for other countries and they seem awfully expensive (remember, I'm cheap). It almost looks like it's worth taking my own ride from here and heading south. Just wondering.
     
  17. Marco

    Marco Ol'Timer

    Regarding Central america, have a look on this page in Horizonunlimited.com

    http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/tstories/#CentralSouthAmerica

    they have lots of info about it

     
  18. Beemerfem

    Beemerfem Member

    Cool, thank you. I like the pictures as always and it's good to hear various trials on the road. Looks like having a simple Japanese bike for a trip like that is not a bad idea. I'd hate to be hunting for BMW parts in Quito! Thanks again for the info.
    Iris
     
  19. hs0zfe

    hs0zfe Ol'Timer

    Bloody hell!
    Hope you will find a solution. My suggestions are not fit to be published :take-that:

    Chris
     
  20. hs0zfe

    hs0zfe Ol'Timer

    For that emergency call: a few minutes on www.nonoh.net are free but you need a landline within reach. www.jajah.com also works - but not always. And if it's Thailand you are calling (or the UK, the U.S., ...) try the country flat rate on Skype. For more countries, try the Skype world flatrate.

    As I'm getting many U.S. calls, i bought a computer number and now they all can leave voice mail or the computer rings. that's $ 6 a month and higher than the country flat rate for a month.

    Forget www.voipdiscount.com the weekly limit is 300 minutes, I recall darkly.

    And for Thai mobiles, get a prepaid which will let you receive calls for a full year. as the usual SIM card require constant topping up or else you can't make or receive calls. A 300 Baht credit took care of that - not sure under which plan. shop around!

    Chris
     
  21. Beemerfem

    Beemerfem Member

    OMIGOD! I totally agree with hs0zfe. At this rate I think my few friends and one family member can just wait until I get home to hear stories. Jeez, what a pain! I appreciate you all making that clear for me so I can just forget about phoning and relax. If I buy it on the road then whoever has to make the calls can worry about the charges! Hah! :happy4:
     

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