To Change or Not Change? : Phone Packages

Yesterday I got sucked into a world of figuring out which phone package was best for my lifestyle and internet usage and found myself drowing in all its information content.   There are three main mobile companies in Thailand (DTAC, AIS, TRUE)  and only one of them at the moment has 3G.  The other two are working on it.  I happen to be using DTAC which doesn’t have 3G yet and at the moment is suffering from a lot of technical problems.

Now I’m a loyal customer of over ten years, but sometimes things may need to change.  I’m not sure if you’ve had the same experience as me but lately, its been getting harder for people to contact me from lack of signal and other technicalities.  I’d be there sitting with the phone in front of me, then a message pops up showing a missed call.  A few minutes later, the actual will come through with a rather disgruntled voice asking me how come it’s so hard to get through.

Was I using the internet?  If I was, calls made don’t come through.  I hear that in some other networks, you can still receive calls when the internet is being played.   Sometimes, I’m not doing anything with the iPhone and still nothing gets through.  After a few months of this , yesterday I decided to check out the phone packages available in Thailand in search of one with a good signal and hopefully a little lighter on my monthly bill.  Being a girl, I always love searching for a good bargain.

Wow, I have to tell you the phone packages available can give you a headache.  I had to do an excel spreadsheet.

First, I went to TRUE which now has 3G and read through their packages.  They have packages for “Unlimited” internet usage which really isn’t “unlimited” if you check the fine print.  There’s unlimited GPRS and WIFI, but for 3G that’s limited to just 1G (in small print).  If you use the phone to call a lot, it’s also not very friendly.  For the 649THB package which is the cheapest of the unlimited, the minutes you get results in calls costing 1.85 per minute (ignoring the savings from the 300SMS and 50MMS) and if you exceed the 350 minutes per month its an extra 1.5 baht per minute.  It’s not bad, but I use the phone quite a bit so its still undecided. I also wished I really had “unlimited” 3G.

Nevertheless, TRUE has unlimited calls to numbers in the same network for only 300THB per month which is very tempting.  It made me wonder if I should go through the hassle of carrying an extra phone so that I can talk till the end of time.  Who will talk that much?  In the end it was not for me.  I don’t want to be carrying around extra phones.

Second, I went to AIS.  They have mix and match packages where you can choose what you want in your phone package.  I pick through the minutes, see they have packages for free calls to same network (but unlike TRUE, it has limits for what time of day you use it.) They also have packages for couples, but I realize that it looks abit more expensive for it limits the number of hours for the same price as other options.  Free unlimited internet (which is basically GPRS since they don’t have 3G) also costs 799thb which I think is a bit over priced.  The good thing about AIS is that they have good signal.  Almost everywhere I go, even on remote islands, they’d have good signal. Of course, all this comes with a premium price.

Third, I come back to DTAC.  I realize my iPhone package is really not so bad.  I spend roughly six hundred per month, get unlimited GPRS, 225mins, 300SMS and 30MMS.  If you make a lot of calls to loved ones, you could pay for the internet 690thb and add on another phone package which lets you call free to other DTAC users during the day.  This should be roughly 1,000thb per month.  I still don’t have 3G and I’d still miss calls.

Oh, another tricky thing, all these phone companies quite prices exclusive of tax, so add another 7% to each promotion!

Two hours later, after drowning in all the phone packages I am still wondering what is what.  The mobile companies seem to be at war with each other now so I guess I’d just stay put for now unless I really can’t stand missing calls.  Maybe competition will make things better.   Are you having phone problems or other dilemmas about what network, what package to use?  Or is it only me?

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