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mbbnyc

Smartphone in Thailand

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Hi all, I need some advice. I am a frequent visitor here from the states. I come 3-4 times a year always on just a normal tourist visa. I tend to use BKK as a base while traveling Thailand/SE Asia.

I currently have a iPhone attached to a friends account @ True.  I have had this for about 5 years now and it's great. I have my own number, it's always the same number. No getting new sim cards when I arrive, etc etc. 

 

It is however kind of a pain in the arse for my friend. He was just trying to be polite and help out. It has not been a problem but it's time for me to do it on my own. When we set this up it was because we were told by true that as a foreigner you could not have a permanent cellphone in Thailand without a Work Visa, Retirement visa, or similar.  Is this still the case ? 

 

So my questions is: Is it possible for me to have a permanent cellphone number that I can pay my monthly bill from the states, auto bill to my credit card, etc ? I would like to have my iPhone with regular calls, texts, data just like I do back home. 

 

Thanks in advance

 

 

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A bit confusing when you state that you "currently have a iPhone attached to a friends account @ True."

Usually a bit clearer it you say you have a True SIM that you use that's attached to a friend's TrueMove mobile account.

 

 

There are at least two mobile phone account types in Thailand, Prepaid (Pay As You Go) & Post Paid. Both allow you to hold the same number so long as you keep the account current.

 

With Prepaid you must keep both a topup 'balance' and days of 'validity' active or risk having the account automatically cancelled. Days of validity are added whenever you make add monies to the account or in some cases buy validity credits. 

 

Postpaid accounts, as you already stated, usually require verification of special Visa class and/or possession of an active work permit. Once the account has been approved you can sign up for auto pre-pay using a credit card or bank account, or be billed.   

 

ThaiVisa

truemove Post paid apply required document for foreigner
By Jeri R, June 15, 2017 in Mobile devices 

 

TrueMove H

How to Get 2% Discount on Your Postpaid Package
Apply for auto pay service with your credit card or bank account and get discount for 12 months.

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 Hi, Thanks for the reply. Let me try and be clearer. When I started coming here regularly 5 years ago. I used to hate not having a smartphone and not getting emails and such. A Thai friend of mine offered to add a line to his family's cell plan with true and I could have the same number and smartphone, etc etc. I have just paid him my portion of the bill 6 months at a time every other trip or so. 

 Now it's been five years and he has been very gracious, it's time for me to just do it on my own thats all. If it is possible.

 

So with option one it sounds like its the old style that does not allow smartphones so basically I should stick with what I have if I want to have a Thai iPhone and be on a normal tourist visa ? 

 

Option two is not an option at the moment

 

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That you use an iPhone while you are here isn't really relevant, as far as how the service works. I understand it may be convenient for you to think about it that way, iPhone with a phone number, even if it's the SIM Card that's physically associated with the True account and not the actual phone.

 

a SIM (Subscriber Identity Module) gets inserted into a network compatible phone or device that provides Voice and Data Internet service. The type of phone or device doesn't matter, it just needs to be compatible with the network.

 

Most SIM cards sold in Thailand, whether Prepaid or Postpaid, work with Smartphones to provide voice and data Internet. Prepaid (Pay As You Go) currently provide 3G or 3G/4G/LTE Data Internet and work with Smartphones that are compatible with that mobile network. Not sure where you heard otherwise. 

 

The thing to remember with prepaid is the watching what package or promotion types you subscribe to. Not selecting a package leaves you paying through the nose for Data Internet usage charged by the minute at very unfavorable rates. Selecting and subscribing to a promotion or package will significantly reduce your costs ...but you need to remember to cancel then (especially if they are auto-renew) before you leave. That's probably where having your current SIM Card associated with a Postpaid Family Plan is convenient, as cancelling Internet subscriptions or keeping validity days isn't even an issue.

 

We have some members on the forum here who visit Thailand on a regular basis who have kept the same Prepaid mobile number for 8 years or more. They making sure to either 'pre' topup the account with 6-12 months validity days before they leave each time, or make topups to the account on a scheduled basis while away to keep the validity going. If they have registered the SIM Account in their name (associated with their Passport, as required for all mobile accounts) even if they lose the phone and/or the SIM Card they can get replacement SIM Cards associated with the same phone number. So long as they keep the account current, they can keep the number. **

 

** Keeping a Prepaid number isn't guaranteed. Most people keep the same number for years and years, but others have run into issues when seeking support from their mobile carrier and *issues* that make no sense (guaranteed to occur in Thailand) had them walking out of the shop with working service but with a new number. But that is unusual.

 

 

Hopefully some other members with direct experience (visiting Thailand regularly and wanting to keep the same Thai mobile number) will chime in on how they manage their service.

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Thanks RichCor for the info. I was only using the iPhone term because it’s what I use and it’s shorter to type than Smartphone. :-)

From what I can tell the pre-paid way will now work for me since it works with smart phones. As far as I know it did not 5 years ago when I started coming here and I went onto my friends plan. 

Now the remembering to cancel part of pre paid is what’s no confusing me. Is this to just save money during the months I am not here ? I don’t care that much about that as A: cellphone plans are very cheap here compared to the US and B: I can call it a “business expense” and deduct it from my taxes. (Even with our current administrations new tax plan) it would be very inexpensive overall.

So the ability to just have a pre-paid plan that auto renews each month is very appealing to me. It gets me what I want with a minimum of hassle and it sounds as if it keeps auto-renewing that I will keep the same number. 

 

I think that might be the way to go, if it is what I think it is.

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Since the primary goal is to retain the number, even if you are not physically in Thailand, you need to be aware of the mobile provider's "Term's & Conditions" for maintaining the account (and therefor the number). Basically, with a PrePaid account, this will be maintaining a positive balance and days of validity.

 

41 minutes ago, mbbnyc said:

Now the remembering to cancel part of pre paid is what’s no confusing me. Is this to just save money during the months I am not here ? I don’t care that much about that as A: cellphone plans are very cheap here compared to the US and B: I can call it a “business expense” and deduct it from my taxes. (Even with our current administrations new tax plan) it would be very inexpensive overall.

So the ability to just have a pre-paid plan that auto renews each month is very appealing to me. It gets me what I want with a minimum of hassle and it sounds as if it keeps auto-renewing that I will keep the same number. 

 

I think that might be the way to go, if it is what I think it is.

 

Placing monies on a PrePaid account is accomplished via a "TopUp". I'm not aware of an automated method of doing this, but it's usually possible to use a credit card online to transfer monies to the mobile account.

 

While basic service is really cheap (I think I use about 30 THB a month!) the Data Internet promotions/packages you might choose and have auto-renew could easily run you 800-1600 THB / mo ... and having that automatically deducting from the account balance, along with other accidental/random charges, could send your account balance to zero ...potentially having the SIM (and attached phone number) flagged as abandoned. If you are away for, say, 8 months do you really want to be paying for something your not using (though, as you say, it may be better business to pay for 12 months service to maintain dedicated number availability even if only used for 4 months out of a year).

 

TrueMove-H is very good about allowing you to purchase a years-worth of "Validity" up front ... so that's covered just by purchasing validity days ahead of time.

 

The last is account "Activity", (adding funds, using mobile internet or outgoing call or SMS activity).  As many SIM Cards are pre-associated with phone numbers, the mobile providers need a way to know when a number has been abandoned so they can recycle them to new customers, so Validity and Activity are closely tracked.  Some people on ThaiVisa have said they make sure to send at least one SMS using the SIM Card within a 45-day time period. Some take the SIM Card with them and do the SMS thing via a compatible roaming agreement network. Other's have written they've never done that and still have the number. So best to have first-hand reports (both from people who have retained their PrePaid number over several years, and those that have lost their PrePaid number for whatever issue).

 

Surprised other's haven't chimed in yet.

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BANGKOK 24 June 2018 06:43
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