Saturday, 8 May 2010

Internet too slow in Thailand? An Aircard may help you..

Occasionally my room offers poor reception and being informed about a so-called aircard I bought one and tried it. An aircard is basically just a GPRS/EDGE modem, similar like connecting your cell phone to your PC, so don't expect any miracles. 3G is just in an experimental phase in Thailand, so in the mean time you just have to settle with it. I did perform some tests which showed that in fact even bad wifi (1-18 mbps) was outperforming the aircard. The good thing is that your connection will never be lost, which otherwise will require you to restart downloads, or to login again at MSN etc., so making it more like a wifi backup rather than a speedier alternative. Also should you be so adventurous to go to places where there's no wifi at all. It's a must. The aircard costed me 1500 Thai Baht, which is 26.50 Euro or 46.50 USD.
When purchasing an Aircard make sure you bring your laptop or netbook along. The salesman, woman or ladyboy will usually go into a lot of trouble to get it working and will save you from a potential headache, because in case of problems you have to find out if the USB plug-in aircard driver software is not working and/or your SIM card.
I first bought a 12Call card with 300 Baht credit, which was gone the same night, prices being similar like calling someone here locally for 5 hours or so.
Much better is to buy a special DTAC SIM card for internet also called a Happy internet SIM card, which will cost you another 250 Baht (6 Euro or 7.75 USD).
Updated 16/3/2011: Not many people Foreigner or Thai will know the difference (it took me one year)
since physically a Happy internet Sim card is the same SIM card as a normal DTAC phone card, but  when you buy, it will come with a different promotion on it.
Please note that on the DTAC website you are able to create an account for your SIM card and besides checking your credit you can switch promotion, but strangely enough I was not able to 'upgrade' my normal DTAC calling card to Happy Internet, but vice versa I am able to 'downgrade' my Happy internet card to the different promotions of a normal calling card.
With a Happy internet card you can be online for 50 hours, which comes down to just ฿0.083/min. (€ 0.002/min. - $ 0.003/min.). After the 50 hours have elapsed it would be best to buy a new happy internet SIM card, since after topping up it will be 3.5 times more expensive; currently ฿0.28/min. inc. VAT (€ 0.007/min. - $ 0.009/min.)

If you only want to download something at a reasonable speed and resuming automatically after any interruption, a decent free alternative to the Aircard, is downloading a program called Bitcomet and use it for http downloads as well. The good thing is: it will look for others downloading the same file and use their resources as well, speeding things up. With a poor wifi connection which is often lost during download, it reconnects and resumes right where you where, in most cases this will be automatic, so you can leave it running through the night.
Please take notice to register free of charge first, since downloads will be a lot faster after login and at some places I was even able to download several movies during the night. The good and bad thing is; for popular downloads; Bitcomet will practically steal all available bandwidth, making it impossible for others to have any speed left.
The other day an Australian guy stepped on my power plug which was connected to an AC outlet at the floor of the coffee-shop here, damaged my plug and without apologizing, he went over to book his ticket back to Aussie country and tried to impress girlfriend how clever he was in doing that.
I didn't comment on his bad behaviour. I just used Bitcomet to download Photoshop which I already bought before, but was not installed on my netbook anymore.
It's wicked, I know, but downloading Photoshop at 300kbps, I so much enjoyed hearing him tell his Thai girlfriend with an irritated voice, why the internet was suddenly so slow, and it took him ages to book.
Oh how sweet revenge can sometimes be..


  1. Hi

    My friend has an aircard, she i sin pattaya...
    she gets UNDER 1kb connection speed..
    Ive never heard of such an awful connection.
    Any ideas how to make it better?

  2. Sorry Davey for answering so late..
    1 Kbps is very slow indeed, Could it be that your friend is not using Dtac, tonight I helped somebody out who had a SIM-card from 12call and it was much slower than my DTAC aircard.
    I had a 12call card myself with 300 bath credit on it, but after 5 hours or so using internet the credit was finished.
    I think "DTAC happy internet" is the one and only good solution here for a reasonable speed at a good price. They seem to charge 0.083 Baht/min. for 50 hrs. and I'm using it for a long time now if I don't have a good Wifi connection.



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