SIM Card vs Pocket WiFi: Which to use in Thailand?

There are various ways to stay connected when you are in Thailand: Prepaid SIM Card or Pocket WiFi (a.k.a WiFi Egg, or WiFi Router). In this post, you have the option to see which is more ideal for you based on your needs and requirements to be connected when you are in Thailand.

1. Prepaid SIM Card
Usually a cheaper alternative to than using your local phone and roaming charges, the Prepaid SIM Card just needs to be placed in your phone and you are instantly connected to the digital world.

How to get a Prepaid SIM Card 
When you arrive
Upon arrival at the airport, in the arrival hall, there are stands from the local Thailand telcos such as True, AIS or dtac, which offer tourists SIM Card options starting from just 299 baht (S$12). You can simply go to any counter, purchase your SIM card, place it into your phone and you are good to go. 

Alternatively, if you want some to save a little more money you can also make your purchase online from websites such as Klook which offer discounts of about 20%. For example, instead of paying S$12 for your SIM Card, you can get it for S$10 instead.

Before you arrive
If you want the convenience and beat the queue to be connected online as fast as you can, than collecting your SIM Card before you leave for your trip might just be the option for you.

For Singaporeans, there is also the option of reserving your SIM online and collecting it before your leave for your trip at Changi Airport via Changi Recommends counters.

For those in Hong Kong, you have the option to reserve your SIM online and collect it at the Hong Kong Airport before you leave for Thailand.

SIM Card Benefits
  1. Once you purchase your SIM card, you will receive a new local (Thailand) phone number while using your own mobile phone.
  2. Able to communicate with the locals, receive international calls, and stay connected on-the-go.
  3. No (extra) deposit or additional return process. Once your SIM Card has expired it use, you can just dispose of it or keep it as a memento.

    SIM Card Downsides

    1. The possibility of having to inform friends and family of your new Thai number should they wish to call you could be a tad troublesome.
    2. If you do not have an extra phone, you would have to remove your current SIM Card and replace it with the new one.

    Recommended For: Travelers (1-2 pax), for those on a short business trip and/or want to make/receive local calls, and if you want a slightly hassle-free and slightly cheaper option. Even if you do not want/need to make local calls, a local data SIM Card might be more economical then a Pocket WiFi if your group is less than 2.

    2. Pocket WiFi (router)

    The Pocket WiFi is easy to connect to and perfect for travelers who need loads of mobile data for surfing the internet, sending large files (e.g. videos and photos) online. Based on research, the average daily mobile data usage of a traveler is 125MB/day.
    Note: Thailand has a Fair Use Policy where a threshold is imposed on the amount of units (minutes, seconds, kilobytes etc.) used by users of a service. This is normally imposed on those services that are termed ‘unlimited’ which would initially mean that the user can use as many/much of the offered service as they want.
    How to get a Pocket WiFi Device (Router)
    The pocket WiFi (router) is the perfect option if you are traveling in a group (of around 2-5 people) or have many devices you want to keep connected at the same time, and don’t have the need to make any local calls. There are quite a few options for the loaning the pocket WiFi device. 

    In general, always make your reservations online at least 3 days in advance, and collect your Pocket WiFi upon arrival at the airport. It is that simple, and with a wide range of companies to choose from, here are a few recommendations, based on convenience and pricing.

    Before you arrive

    There are various companies both in Singapore and Thailand that offer the pocket WiFi option, but if you are looking for cost effectiveness, than Changi Recommends might be slightly more economical when there are promotions (i.e. average pricing about S$5++ per day for Thailand). Collection and returning the device would be at Changi Airport.

    Renting the WiFi Router is easy. Just make the reservation at least 3 days in advance. They have 24/7 booth located in all three terminals so you just have to drop by the booth to collect the router before you enter the departure gate.

    Alternatively, there are other options such as Klook, which offers you similar services at discounted rates from other companies which you can collect before your flight: 

    When you arrive

    Most, if not all of the companies require you to collect and return the device at the airport, or at the nearest Post Office in Thailand. If you are all about saving time and convenience, than you may want to consider Pocket WiFi Thai - a company which offers collection and return of the WiFi device at the Suvarnabhummi Airport or your accommodation in Bangkok. In addition, you can stay connected with up to 5 compatible devices during your travels in Thailand.

    Pocket WiFi Thai
    Place the device into the envelope and pass it to your hotel counter. Returning is such a breeze!

    It might cost lightly more (S$1-2) but it is definitely worth the time saved on the effort on the return of the device. All you have to do is hand it to your hotel counter and you can save that time to eat/shop more before your flight takes off! 

    You can rent the 4G device, with maximum speed of 100 mbps for USD$5.25 (about S$7.10) per day.

    Note: When we booked the Pocket WiFi Thai, the rate at the time for the 4G device was USD$6.95 (about S$9.70) per day. 

    For the best deal, it would be best to check out the official website and make a comparison with Trazy (which may have some discounts) to see which is the better deal.

    Pocket WiFi Benefits

    1. Stay connected anywhere and anytime, without having the need to depend on free WiFi (if it is available).
    2. No hassle of having to remove and replacing the SIM Card.
    3. Connect to more than 1 device (i.e. from a range of 2-8 devices).
    4. Just pay a daily rate and not having to worry how much data you have used.

    Pocket WiFi Downsides

    1. Having to pay a deposit, and only getting your deposit after you return the device.
    2. Making the effort to return the device, or risk forfeiting your deposit or incurring a penalty.

    Recommended For: Travelers who travel in large groups (i.e. 3 or more), and/or you want to stay connected at the same time on multiple devices, than you could consider the Pocket WiFi. The Pocket WiFi It is perfect for avoiding a bill shock from costly roaming service and especially if you have more than 2 people in the group where the cost can be shared across.

    So which is the perfect choice for you?
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