PHUKET: In the past three editions of Live Wire, I’ve taken you through a detailed list of the internet packages currently available in Phuket and a description of what kinds of packages – “3G,” ADSL, Fiber, etc – most people will want.
Last week I warned you about the truly awful experience one reader had with the new TOT 3G (they call it a “3.9G”) package.
This week, I’m going to start tying it all together, describing what kind of wireless internet I’m using, and how you may or may not want something similar. Next week, I’ll talk about the land lines that I’ve chosen for my new digs in Kathu, and how and why I chose them.
Yes, I mean “lines” – in Phuket, if you need reliable internet, you must have at least two different lines, from two different providers. But more on that next week.
My wireless hardware situation is pretty normal: I have a Galaxy Note II, which is a cross between an overgrown phone and a shrunken tablet. My wife has an iPhone 4S. In addition, we have an iPad 2 with 3G capability, a Kindle Fire, and a handful of older phones.
Right now, I have three 3G accounts, all with TrueMove-H – one for each of the phones, and one for the iPad. Although it would be possible to tether the iPad to one of the phones, and use the phone account for internet access on the iPad, I’m glad we decided to get a 3G enabled iPad. It’s convenient to be able to pick up the iPad and not worry about whether one of the phones is within tethering distance.
Our use of TrueMove-H is largely historical – a living demonstration of the fact that, once you’ve chosen an internet provider, it’s a big hassle to change. All three of the devices run on TrueMove’s most expensive 3G package: the TrueMove-H Net (i) package at 899 baht + VAT per month. Although it’s advertised as “unlimited,” that 899 baht buys me up to 5 GB of data at 3G (actually, HSPA+) speeds, over TrueMove’s network, which is owned and operated by CAT. If I go over 5 GB in any month, the phone or iPad gets throttled back to a very, very slow speed.
I’ve had a TrueMove account for many years. When we bought the iPad 2, TrueMove had the largest discount of any of the three 3G ISPs at the time (TrueMove, DTAC, AIS), so we bought the iPad from TrueMove. When my wife was looking for an iPhone, she already had an account, and phone number, at DTAC. But TrueMove had a better deal on the iPhone we wanted, so we bought the phone from TrueMove.
My wife moved her number from AIS to TrueMove (a process I described in the Live Wire from December 31, 2011).
TrueMove, DTAC and AIS generally offer the most popular new phones with a discount, if you agree to set up a new phone number with them, and pay for the new number for 6 to 12 months.
If I were starting out fresh with a new phone, I’d compare the monthly charge for CAT’s 3G service, which is currently 790 baht + VAT for “unlimited” up to 4 GB, and see if any of the three main 3G service providers (TrueMove, DTAC or AIS) offer enough of a discount on a new phone to make it worthwhile. For example, if I bought a new phone from DTAC I’d probably end up paying 100 baht more per month than if I just bought the phone at a phone shop, and used the cheaper CAT service.
The trick, of course, is that I get stuck with a new phone number (which doesn’t have to be used in the new phone!) for 6 to 12 months.
Is your head spinning yet?
All of the 3G services (or 3G+ or 3.9G or whatever they want to call them) work about the same. In real world use, as we’ve seen time and again at phuketinternetspeed.com, 3G in Phuket is fast enough to sustain a video Skype connection, and YouTube videos usually play OK. The ISP’s claims of 26 Mbps or 42 Mbps or 56 Mbps are nothing but advertising malarkey, with absolutely no semblance to the real world. Real 3G download speeds in Phuket are closer to 0.4 to 0.8 Mbps. And your location – proximity to a 3G tower – makes an enormous difference.
That may change, though. AIS, for example, announced just last week that it’s building out a new 3G network on the 2.1 GHz frequency. The frequency, in and of itself, doesn’t mean much. The key factor is that AIS’s 2.1 GHz network will be different from its current network – the one owned and operated by TOT. I’m holding out hope (against all experience) that AIS will build a much faster “backhaul” on this new network, and connect it to a relatively unthrottled connection to the internet backbone. If that happens, we’ll see the effects first at phuketinternetspeed.com.
When I buy another tablet, I probably won’t pay extra for 3G. (Warning: as I predicted two months ago, Apple in Phuket now calls its network capable devices “4G” – when there isn’t a single 4G signal available in Phuket.) In the future, I’ll probably tether my new tablets to a phone. That not only shaves 3,000 to 4,000 baht off the purchase price of the tablet, it saves another 800 to 900 baht per month for the extra 3G connection.
My next wireless purchase will probably be a MyFi box – the little portable box not much bigger than a deck of cards that connects to the internet over 3G, then lets you share that internet connection with any device that supports WiFi. MyFi boxes are pretty cheap now – a few thousand baht – and they work very well indeed.
One final wireless note: when you go shopping for phones, tablets, 3G connectors (USB dongles, MyFi boxes, whatever), be intensely aware of one fact. 3G is on its way out, all over the world. Unless Thailand completely screws up 4G – I’d ballpark it at a 70/30 chance, given the self-flagellation we saw with 3G – you’re going to want to replace your 3G equipment with 4G in a couple of years.
Why? 4G really is that much better – and in two or three years from now, you’re going to have plenty of uses for a faster line. As I described in the August 11 Live Wire, in the real world, 4G runs three to five times faster than 3G. Of course, it’ll be up to Phuket’s ISPs to create the infrastructure that will support those higher speeds, so our results may well vary.
I don’t want to leave the topic on a dyspeptic note. The fact is that wireless internet access in Phuket has made breathtaking advances in the past three or four years. Granted, our 3G isn’t as fast or reliable as Singapore’s or Hong Kong’s – or even Cambodia’s. But it’s usable, and getting better.
Starting this month, a German-language group will hold informal computer clinics at the Sandwich Shoppe in Patong on Sunday mornings, at 11am. Sehr gut!
Our regular weekly computer clinic roundtables continue every Sunday morning, 10am at the Sandwich Shoppe, Chalong. If you have a Windows problem that needs to be solved, or a question about internet service in Phuket, drop by and ask one of the assembled gurus. It’s always free. Sponsored by the Phuket Gazette and Khun Woody’s Sandwich Shoppes.
Live Wire is Woody Leonhard’s weekly snapshot of all things Internet in Phuket.
‘Always Smile Journey’ raises fund to provide free English classes for underprivileged people
On October 18, the ‘Always Smile Journey’ group and its partners will host an exhibition with plenty of fun activities at the Yak Yai Market, near Chalong Circle, in Phuket. This event was designed to raise funds to provide free English classes for underprivileged people on the island of Phuket on Saturdays and Sundays. The group does not accept donations but aims to raise money through the sales of the products available at the event.
From 2 pm to 8 pm, there will be a number of artists, musicians and performers who will keep the attendees entertained along the way. There will be a short film about His Majesty King Rama 9 as well as fun activities and games for kids and families, which are all free of charge.
The big bike crew is also a part of this event. They will ride a parade from Rawai Beach heading to the market and showcase their gorgeous two-wheel buddies.
One of the highlights of the Always Smile Journey exhibition is the ‘Happening’ artists group, who will draw and paint a picture of the His Majesty King Rama 9 under the name ‘Street Art King Bhumibol’ on a 4×10 meter sign live at the event so the guests will experience this large-scale art in action. The Happening will also offer portrait sketching for the participants.
There will also be some western menus available at the event which will be donated to underprivileged children.
This free English class project has over seven years of experience through its cooperation working with individuals and other charity organizations. Throughout the years, the group visited several areas such as Ban Laem Hoy School, Ban Bopud School and Ban Angthong School in Samui, Surat Thani province, Ban Bueng Ao Oun School and Ban Kakoh Rayong, in Surin province, Jalae Village of Lahu (Muser) in Chiang Rai province, as well as community education centers in Siem Reap, Cambodia and in Luang Prabang, in Laos.
This event is a cooperation between several groups, including Happening, Yak Yai Market and Arrow Media, Tattoo artist group, Thonburi Art School Alumni, International School of Tourism, Suratthani Rajabhat University, big bike group from Phuket, artists/performers/musicians from many provinces as well as several businesses across Phuket.
The world’s fastest growing tourist destinations
PHOTO: Hello Phuket – destined for huge tourist growth in the next six years – fodors.com
In 2018, international tourist arrival traffic grew by 6% to reach a total of 1.4 billion world tourists, according to research by UNWTO World Tourism Barometer. And there’s a lot more to come with international travel predicted to increase by a massive 35% over the next six years to 2025.
But where is all that extra traffic going to go? Which destinations are quiet now that might be swarming with tourists in the years to come? Two destinations in Thailand are set for a prosperous future, according to the data. Whilst almost all the growth is excepted to be to Asian destinations, an under-visited resource for world tourism so far.
Euromonitor data has been used to simulate tourist growth models and reveal the fastest growing projected visitor arrivals in major cities and destinations around the world for 2025, compared to arrival figures in 2018.
In Thailand, Phuket’s tourist traffic is poised to increase up to 85% in the next six years, from nearly 12 million arrivals in 2018 to over 22 million in 2025. Bangkok is predicted to see the 8th most prolific rise in tourist traffic, with arrivals in Bangkok set to swell an additional 68% during the same period. Doha, the capital of Qatar, is set to explode with 104% increase in traffic over the next six years.
The data also predicts that both Bangkok and Phuket will rebound big time in 2020, Phuket in particular with a growth of around 20% for the next year, accord to the data from TravelSupermarket.com.
By 2025 the data predicts that Bangkok will be the world’s #1 tourist destination, a position it’s held before in recent years. The Thai capital will be followed by Singapore, Dubai, Phuket and Kuala Lumpur, making South East Asia the world’s emerging tourism hotspot.
Some of the world’s favourites – New York, Paris, London – will continue to grow their tourist numbers but not at the rate of most Asian destinations.
You can read the full list HERE.
Stats compiled by travelsupermarket.com
Stats compiled by travelsupermarket.com
Rawai beachfront water shut-off tomorrow for mains works
The Phuket Provincial Waterworks Authority says Rawai’s mains water supply will be shut off tomorrow (Tuesday, October 15) as new water pipes are fitted in front of The Title Beach Front condo resort complex on the town’s beachfront.
The mains water supply will be shut off from 9am until 4:30pm along the beachfront strip.
The PWA says the areas affected will be along Wiset Road along the Rawai beachfront road, as well as Soi Yanui and Soi Ruafaed.
Residents and businesses are being urged to collect water for use during the day today, before tomorrow morning’s shut-off.
As usual, the PWA say…“We apologise for any inconvenience caused.”
Contact the Phuket Provincial Waterworks Authority on 076 319173 or 082 7901634 for more details.
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