Thursday, 23 May 2013

Thailand 3G - quirky set up process and slow performance

On Monday, I called in at the AIS counter in Tukcom and signed up for a post paid 3G contract. When I say I signed, it's a bit of a lie. I have no work permit so I have to get a Thai to sponsor me, (sign docs and hand over copy of ID card). The lady at the AIS counter said I should receive an SMS from AIS in the next 14 days advising me of my application approval and at that time, I should return to AIS Tukcom to complete the 3G account set up.

After 2 days, (yesterday), I received the SMS confirmation message  Problem is, I'd been reading bad reports of poor 3G performance in Thailand so I decided to hold off switching from 2G until things had improved.

This morning, (Thursday), I was on a call, (incoming), when I lost the signal. I couldn't receive or make calls. It remained that way for the remainder of the morning which had me suspecting AIS had cut off my 2G link to encourage me to move to 3G.

So this afternoon, back to Tukcom. My contacts were transferred from old to a new Sim, (same #, free), and after 30mins of AIS working on my phone, I was told everything was done but I'd have to wait a further 2 or 3 hours for my new 3G account to be activated... Return home, do not pass Go, do not collect $200... After 4 hours my phone was still off so on the grounds I'd nothing better to do, I powered my phone off and on. Presto, new 3G account active.

First impressions.

It's the first time I've switched from 2G to 3G so I have no reference point for the process involved. That said, two visits to Tukcom, possible 14 day wait, a 2 to 3 hour wait with dead phone are all part of a process that I reckon would excite Heath Robinson

For Internet browsing, AIS 3G is as fast as the slow Wi-Fi connection I had with 3BB. It's not a radical improvement but it works and seems stable around central Pattaya.

It's hard to distinguish any difference on phone calls between the 2G and 3G services. Friends will tell you that's because of my crap phone........

Apps that were dormant with a wi-fi connection are beavering away like mad with an open data connection. Apps guilty of covert data usage are Google Play Store; YouTube; Drippler and Line. If you don't get a grip of these apps you could pretty quickly exceed your monthly data usage limit and run up penalty fees. For Android users, check out  Onavo,  a quality data usage monitor. For IOS users, who cares...... if you can pay over the odds for a fashion item, you can pay penalty fees..... you've probably paid for an unlimited plan anyway......


It's early days but I'm no worse off than I was on 2G and things can only get better.... right? Who's laughing?????

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