The great thing about consulting or owning your own business where you can work online is that you can literally do it anywhere. As I write this article I’m laying down in a bamboo hut in the middle of rice fields and sugar cane plantations, no one around for miles yet I’m still connected. Using AIS 3g I’m able to connect with all my operations make phone calls to clients all while drinking Sang Som and cranking the karaoke machine. Life is great.
What’s in a picture?
Ever see those pictures of guys with their feet up relaxing on the beach while working online? I think the beach is the worst place and here’s why. As good as those pictures look, it’s almost always very humid and sticky. Few pictures will ever show the reality of what these places are truly like. People never seem to capture the hawkers that come and disturb you the heat that I explained earlier and the journey time to a bathroom that is reliably clean. Maybe I’m just cynical or just a realist in saying that Paradise is not always what it seems. So if you can ignore the hawkers and you can hook up a fan at the beach your biggest problem is reliable internet access.
The only truly reliable internet in Thailand I’ve ever had was through my phone. Just because you’ve rented a brand new condo or bought a new house doesn’t mean that you’re guaranteed to have good internet. A guy I met last week said that he’s going around to all these apartments testing the internet speeds so that he can make the most “informed” decision. I just chuckled. While some people get lucky many people will suffer through service interruptions caused mostly by electricians cutting corners and using the cheapest gauge wire possible. Yes it’s cheaper in Thailand, but cheap is almost always not better. Internet is one thing digital professionals should not be cheap about.
The reality is you need continuation plans to get uninterrupted internet access in Thailand, like many professional mostly for online poker players working here you MUST have more than one service or you WILL have service interruption.
Current 3g rates average around 800 baht a month for 4 gigs or more which is around the typical price for basic ASDL or fiber connection. Typically to get service simply go to the closest mall (or Big C depends where you live) which is where your local providers will have a sales shop. It’s easy to prepay for 3g service but for a landline connection as a foreigner you’ll need a contract. Most internet service providers require foriegners to pay up front 6months.
I recommend AIS (12Call) for 3g service, right now for 799 a month you’ll get 12gb plus download per month (then a really slow connection for the rest of the month) you’ll also get free wifi connections in certain locations (Mcdonalds and central malls have AIS wifi!). If you’re lucky enough to live within range of the wifi connection you could get away with just that but the WiFi is unreliable . If you just want the WiFi connection it’s 99 baht a month. Just go to your phone company for more information. (3bb, True, AIS).
Internet Connection Speeds
The fastest internet I’ve seen in Thailand is from a connection of a mate of mine that lives in Bangkok. He is using True Move Ultra Speed where he regularly gets 80mbit/s download speeds.
You will see the picture below how confusing and illogical pricing is. But like everything in Thailand nothing is done logically.
So you will see two different prices here one for xDSL and one for DOCSIS. The xDSL uses phone lines but the DOCSIS uses fiber. The fiber is faster and its cheaper. If you’re looking for the fastest internet available look for the word DOCSIS.
Watch this video it will explain it better.
Fiber isn’t available in all locations however fiber is the most reliable method of delivery so if you absolutely require fast internet then you need this service or fiber from another provider.
Most Internet service providers are linked to CAT’s gateway for domestic and international content which I suspect but can’t confirm is where the government can intercept and block illegal content. TRUE has it’s own international gateway which when that happened really helped download speeds. TRUE also owns most of the telephone lines in Bangkok . CAT used to own a monopoly on the international gateway but in the past several years the government has allowed other operators including TRUE to setup their own gateways. Again TRUE has the most Coverage in Bangkok and was the first company to get 4g.
An interesting fact is in the early 2000’s it would cost about 25,000 baht for a broadband connection that was slower than what you can get now for 600 baht a month.
Recommended Internet Providers in Thailand
CAT Telecom – Only company i’m aware of that offers up to 1Gbit/s downloads
TRUE – Leader in providing the internet which the most coverage in Bangkok
3BB – I’ve always used 3BB as my broadband connection, and without fail every month i’ll have service interruption.
If you own a website that only has Thailand traffic then you want it hosted in Thailand. CAT-IDC has the largest data center in Thailand actually several of them. They do have cheaper specs available you just need to call them. As you can guess from the design of their website customer service for small clients is not at all helpful.
If you run a business that requires staff to use the internet all day or even large guest houses with many users or you have money to burn and want the fastest internet available in Thailand then you need a leased line and I highly recommend you look at a a commercial provider like csloxinfo who offer leased lines.
If you have anything to add, or I got something completely wrong please let me know in the comments below.