Connect with us

Thai Life

Tech: Be forwarned about 4G in Phuket

Legacy Phuket Gazette

Published 

 on 

Tech: Be forwarned about 4G in Phuket | The Thaiger
  • follow us in feedly

PHUKET: Lest you think it’s 3G dejavu all over again, the current state of 4G in Phuket has a few interesting, new wrinkles. In many ways, the impending 4G roll out – which is already under way, at least in theory – isn’t nearly as confusing as the 3G rollout two years ago. Thank heavens!

Let’s start with the basics. While “3G” was a marketing term that could mean anything to anybody, that’s changed. Almost everywhere in the world now, “4G” has a very specific technical meaning. It uses a technology known as LTE. Depending on how you define “3G” 4G transmissions run ten to fifty times faster than 3G. That’s a very significant improvement – so significant that it’s entirely possible 4G will one day replace ADSL land lines as the internet delivery mechanism of choice, much as mobile phones replaced land phones a decade or two ago.

There’s a second technology waiting in the wings that could disrupt everything. Called “4G+” by the marketing folks and “LTE+” by techies, 4G+ doubles or triples the speeds seen in 4G. Most of the developed world is rolling out LTE just as fast as it can. Right now, 4G+ is only available in limited areas. While there’s talk of stalling the 4G roll out in Thailand until 4G+ becomes more mainstream, I don’t see it happening any time soon: There isn’t that much support for 4G+ in devices worldwide, and the technology isn’t nearly as robust (that’s a euphemism for “old”) as 4G. Besides, there’re billions and billions of baht waiting for any company that can get 4G out in the mainstream.

Right now, TrueMove offers real 4G service on the 2100 MHz channel. (2100 MHz is also called 2.1 GHz.) The “channel” is much like a television channel: Your phone or tablet or USB dongle has to support 4G/LTE at 2100 MHz, in order to be able to use the TrueMove 4G service. And that’s the crux of the problem, which I’ll discuss momentarily.

We’re going to see two huge limitations with 4G in Thailand, and before you go all-in with 4G, it would behoove you to understand both of the problems.

First, while the LTE communication protocol – the way your phone or tablet talks to the tower – may be very fast indeed, it doesn’t mean squat once the signal’s at the bottom of the tower. Parts of the US now are seeing massive collision problems with the wireless part of the 4G equation: Too many people have 4G phones, and they’re using them for all sorts of data-intensive stuff, slowing down communication between the tower and the phone. We may eventually see that problem too. But for now, the big problem in Phuket is how fast the internet connection goes from the base of the tower to wherever you’re trying to reach. In technical terms, that’s called the “backhaul bandwidth” and to date I haven’t seen much attention paid to the problem.

The phone companies can use the same equipment on towers for both 3G and 4G, give or take an upgrade or two. But if they have both 3G and 4G signals running through the same backhaul, the big constraint will start at the base
of the tower. Phuket’s never been known for excellent international data speeds. Adding 4G to the mix without increasing the international bandwidth very considerably, will have 4G customers sucking through the same tiny straw that bedevils 3G customers. As always, I’m skeptical that the phone companies will spend enough to keep those international channels running quickly.

The second big problem we’ll see with 4G in Phuket is the data caps. Right now, your “unlimited” 3G data plan isn’t unlimited at all. Depending on how much you pay, you can run 2 GB (the size of a high definition movie) to 4 GB (two movies) through your 3G connection every month. After you hit the cap, your service is throttled back to 2G levels – roughly 380 Kbps or less – until the next month’s billing cycle starts. As long as you’re playing a few YouTube videos and downloading email, you won’t hit the cap. But if you’re streaming movies, the cap’s going to get you big time.

Admittedly, Thailand doesn’t have Netflix, the movie-on-demand service that’s a huge drain on bandwidth, so we aren’t going to hit the problem as quickly as the rest of the world. But some day we’ll have access to enough streamed video that regular, everyday internet customers in Thailand will bump up against the data cap.

(How bad is Netflix? In the US, last month, the broadband service company Sandvine estimated that more than half of all peak-time download traffic in the US is from YouTube and Netflix. More than half! Netflix and YouTube
combined account for 45% of all US internet traffic, both upload and download. Absolutely astounding – and when the technology catches up in Thailand, we’ll be seeing numbers like that too.)

So, if you understand the problems – data caps and possibly slow service – and you still want to go with 4G in Phuket, what should you do?

Let me tell you a story. I was in Central last week, looking at the new iPad Mini LTE. It’s a gorgeous little tablet, with a Retina display – and it isn’t that expensive. (Well, yes, it’s a little expensive – 17,900 baht for the 16 GB cellular model – but you know what I mean.) Here’s the problem.

When I talked with the people at the Apple store, they told me that the new iPad Mini Cellular will work with TrueMove H’s 4G system. When I talked to the people right across the aisle, in the TrueMove shop, they told me that TrueMove’s 4G doesn’t yet work with the iPad.

Confusing? You bet. I went to the Apple web site, and found that the iPad Air model A1475 and the iPad Mini Retina A 1490 can both work with TrueMoveH (LTE at 2,100 MHz). There’s a chart at apple.com/ipad/LTE/. But when I went to the Apple ordering site for Thailand, none of the LTE iPad Air or iPad Mini machines are even listed: They’re all WiFi or 3G models (confusingly marked “WiFi + Cellular.”)

It isn’t clear if the iPad Mini Retina LTE is even available in Thailand. If I bought a Mini, would it include LTE support or not? I don’t know, and frankly I’m not willing to gamble 17,900 baht to find out.

Same problem with the iPhone 5c and iPhone 5s. Models A1529 and A1530 both work, theoretically, withTrueMove’s 4G. (See apple.com/iphone/LTE) but if you try to order one online from the Apple store, you won’t see an option to buy one. (NOTE: The iPhone 4 and 4S do NOT run 4G, anywhere in the world.)

The smartest thing to do right now? Wait. Both AIS and DTAC are rolling out 4G as fast as they can, starting in Bangkok. They may even have signals in Phuket by the time you read this. But the only way to be sure that you get a phone or tablet that matches the signal is to buy the phone or tablet from the phone company.

Certainly the 4G situation will improve soon. It has to – there’s an enormous amount of money to be made. But for now, don’t buy a “4G” phone or tablet or dongle thinking that you can just pop a TrueMove 4G SIM card into the beast and have it work at 4G speeds. Check with TrueMove (or AIS or DTAC, sooner or later) before you buy the hardware, and have them guarantee that their 4G network will work on what you buy.

Anything else could turn into a very expensive mistake.

Mr Live Wire’s running a handful of free Sunday-morning computer clinics, at a new venue – Baketastic in Kathu. (Location: opposite Krung Thai Bank, about 100 meters east of the gas station – head toward Lotus.) If you have a Windows problem that needs to be solved, or a question about internet service in Phuket, a tablet, phone, TV, or just about anything associated with computers, drop by. No experience necessary. It’s always free, as in beer. December 15 and 22, 10:00 to noon. Sponsored by the Phuket Gazette and Khun Add’s Baketastic.

— Live Wire

Keep in contact with The Thaiger by following our Facebook page.
Never miss out on future posts by following The Thaiger.
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

World

The World’s 50 Best Foods: Thai massaman curry tops the list

Maya Taylor

Published

on

The World’s 50 Best Foods: Thai massaman curry tops the list | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Young Sok Yun on Flickr

The humble massaman curry has topped a list of the World’s 50 Best Foods, compiled by CNN Travel. Thailand’s coconut milk and potato-based curry (add the meat, tofu or vegetables of your choice) comes in at number 1, with 2 other popular Thai dishes also featuring. The hot and spicy shrimp soup, Tom Yum Goong, comes in at number 8, with papaya salad, aka somtam, in 46th place (mai phet please!) Tell us your favourite Thai dish, and why, in the comments section (below).

CNN Travel says its staff conducted extensive research on global cuisine to find the 50 best dishes ever created. Nice work if you can get it…

Italian pizza, Mexican chocolate, Japanese sushi, Chinese Peking duck and German Hamburger also top the delicious list.

Here’s what the writers had to say about the 3 Thai dishes that made the top taste grade…

Massaman curry, 1st place: Emphatically the king of curries, and perhaps the king of all foods. Spicy, coconutty, sweet and savoury. Even the packet sauce you buy from the supermarket can make the most delinquent of cooks look like a Michelin potential. Thankfully, someone invented rice, with which diners can mop up the last drizzles of curry sauce. “The Land of Smiles” isn’t just a marketing catch-line. It’s a result of being born in a land where the world’s most delicious food is sold on nearly every street corner.

Tom Yum Kung, 8th place: This best food Thai masterpiece teems with shrimp, mushrooms, tomatoes, lemongrass, galangal and kaffir lime leaves. Usually loaded with coconut milk and cream, the hearty soup unifies a host of favourite Thai tastes: sour, salty, spicy and sweet. Best of all is the price: cheap.

The World’s 50 Best Foods: Thai massaman curry tops the list | News by The Thaiger

PHOTO: Richard Lee on Flickr

Som Tam/Papaya salad, 46th place: To prepare Thailand’s most famous salad, pound garlic and chilies with a mortar and pestle. Toss in tamarind juice, fish sauce, peanuts, dried shrimp, tomatoes, lime juice, sugar cane paste, string beans and a handful of grated green papaya. Grab a side of sticky rice. Variations include those made with crab (som tam pu) and fermented fish sauce (som tam pla ra), but none matches the flavour and simple beauty of the original.

The World’s 50 Best Foods: Thai massaman curry tops the list | News by The Thaiger

PHOTO: www.needpix.com

SOURCE: Thai Residents | CNN Travel

Keep in contact with The Thaiger by following our Facebook page.
Never miss out on future posts by following The Thaiger.
Continue Reading

Protests

K-Pop fans show their support for the young Thai protesters, donate 3 million+ baht

The Thaiger

Published

on

K-Pop fans show their support for the young Thai protesters, donate 3 million+ baht | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Fan-funded 'happy birthday' signs around Thailand's BTS and MRT station

Art meets politics again, this time with hundreds of thousands of K-Pop fans raising funds in support of the growing student protest movement in Thailand. So far they’ve raised more than 3 million baht (as of 10am this morning) but the amount is rising quickly as Thai and overseas K-Pop fans respond. The most popular band in Thailand at the moment is BTS, the South Korean septet which is currently the most popular band in the world (as of today BTS commands the Number 1 and Number 2 positions on the US Billboard singles chart).

BTS fans have so far been the largest contributors donating funds to the protest cause.

The BTS Thailand page, not to be confused with the BTS Skytrain, is urging K-pop fans to stop the practice of paying for billboards in support of their favourite idols and to celebrate the birthdays of the 7 members. RM, Jin, Suga, J-Hope, Jimin, V and Jungkook issued a statement on their fanpage asking fans to stop funding the BTS and MRT “inconvenienced protesters and normal citizens from getting home and putting them in danger”.

Bangkok’s two main rail systems were closed down over the weekend as police and protesters played a cat and mouse game. The protesters were withholding the announcement of protest locations to the last minute whilst police second-guessed their moves, ending up in mass inconvenience for the wider public in shutting down the entire network, including the Airport link.

“We’re calling Armys and other fans to stop buying ad projects with the BTS and MRT.” (“Army” is the name of BTS fans.

Fans of K-pop groups as well as other “idol” groups often pool their resources to purchase display ads in the MRT and BTS stations wishing their stars happy birthday or on other significant anniversaries.

It’s thought that many more millions of baht will be raised by the K-Pop fans in the next few days.

The young Thai protesters are tapping into a strong social media network, and have “weaponised” the social media and messaging platforms. The main App they are now using, to communicate their intentions, is “Telegram”, developed by a young Russian couple but now operating out of Germany. The App features encypted messages, impossible to track, and has 400 million monthly active users.

Telegram is a cloud-based instant messaging, video telephony and voice over IP service with end-to-end encryption for secret chat only, whereas Cloud chat uses client-server/server-client encryption and its messages are stored encrypted in the Telegram Cloud – Wikipedia

Meanwhile, other K-Pop acts that have mobilised their fans win support include Girls’ Generation, GOT7, NCT, WannaOne, Nu’est, X1, Day 6, Red Velvet, MonstaC, Woodz, Shinee, Super Junior and R1se. We’re sure the fans of Black Pink are also contributing but didn’t have their figures available at the time of publishing. Fans of popular Thai actors and celebrities are also donating to the pool.

Keep in contact with The Thaiger by following our Facebook page.
Never miss out on future posts by following The Thaiger.
Continue Reading

Property

Thailand’s property market waits for an end to Covid-19

The Thaiger

Published

on

Thailand’s property market waits for an end to Covid-19 | The Thaiger

The Coronavirus outbreak poses challenges for Thailand’s property market as potential Chinese condominium buyers remain stranded in China. Meanwhile, some believe that the outbreak may bring opportunities for non-Chinese buyers and in the long-run, the Chinese may be looking for an overseas refuge in the event of these types of emergencies popping up again

Through all this, there will be a certain level of pent up demand for Thai real estate.

Of course, it’s not just the Chinese unable to come and inspect potential buys, the rest of the world is also mostly shut out of Thailand.

Market remains weak

The pandemic is hurting the condominium market as Chinese nationals were accounting for half of the international buyers in Thailand, or 57.6% of the total foreign condo owners in 2018.

Vichai Viratkapan, acting director-general of the Real Estate Information Centre says that 50% of Chinese condo transfers are expected to disappear in the first 2 quarters of this year and the total transfer value by the Chinese will miss the mark of the usual 29 billion baht by about 25% (around 7 billion).

However, since Chinese property buyers only make up 6% of the total international and domestic housing transfers in Thailand, the proportion of total housing transfers in the country is likely to be similar to last year.

Developers looking to sell current stock whilst shelving new projects

CBRE reports that most Thai developers are postponing the launch of new condo projects to focus on clearing existing stock.

“Discounting completed projects to generate quick revenue as a financial lifeboat is the best solution for many of the country’s larger developers whilst the market is in limbo.”

Rathawat Kuvijitrsuwan, head of CBRE Research and Consulting in Thailand believes that, now business is gradually recovering, a few developers have started to launch new condominium projects.

“In the first half of 2020, the Bangkok condominium landscape was gloomy with fewer than 10,000 condominium units launched, which was much lower than the total number of new launches in the past three years of more than 60,000 condominium units per year.”

The Chinese are reluctant to complete transfers

The virus has continued to affect hospitality operators, including hotels and condominiums that service tourists, nationwide. Since China has suspended tours, put restrictions on movement, and locked down cities, home to over millions of people, it also poses a threat to real estate developers as their clients are unable or unwilling to fly.

“Currently multiple off-plan condominium developments are approaching completion, and Chinese clients are unable or unwilling to transfer. Chinese clients who made a reservation in Q4 2019 are requesting a refund and withholding their investment,” said Marciano Bijmohun, Business Development Director at FazWaz Property Group.

He believes every condominium that is in transfer status will see the percentage of non-transfer units rise in the coming months.

“These non-transfer units will cause a big financial hit to developers.”

If a client refuses to transfer, does not comply with the terms and conditions stipulated in the sales and purchase agreement, and decides to release the property, their deposits will be forfeited.

“However, there is some good news, these non-transferred units can be offered with a discount to new clients.”

Also, as China has been susceptible to a few disease outbreaks – from bird flu to the current coronavirus – it may prompt Chinese buyers to look for second homes outside of China.

Keep in contact with The Thaiger by following our Facebook page.
Never miss out on future posts by following The Thaiger.
Continue Reading
Thailand News Today | STV arrivals, Released then re-arrested, Petition to oust PM | October 21 | The Thaiger
Thailand1 day ago

Thailand News Today | STV arrivals, Released then re-arrested, Petition to oust PM | October 21

Thailand News Today | Media censorship, Thai parliament to meet, STV flight arrives | October 20 | The Thaiger
Thailand2 days ago

Thailand News Today | Media censorship, Thai parliament to meet, STV flight arrives | October 20

Thailand News Today | Protest update, Samui wants cheap flights, Isaan croc hunters | October 19 | The Thaiger
Thailand3 days ago

Thailand News Today | Protest update, Samui wants cheap flights, Isaan croc hunters | October 19

Thailand News Today | Bangkok protests, Special Tourist Visa, Prisoners slippery escape | October 16 | The Thaiger
Thailand6 days ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok protests, Special Tourist Visa, Prisoners slippery escape | October 16

Thailand News Today | State of Emergency, Pattaya ‘online’, Veggie Festival plea | October 15 | The Thaiger
Thailand7 days ago

Thailand News Today | State of Emergency, Pattaya ‘online’, Veggie Festival plea | October 15

Thailand News Today | BKK protest update, Chiang Mai ‘quiet’, Baby klong crocs | October 14 | The Thaiger
Thailand1 week ago

Thailand News Today | BKK protest update, Chiang Mai ‘quiet’, Baby klong crocs | October 14

Thailand News Today | No STV tourists, Boss in Dubai, border fears in Tak | October 13 | The Thaiger
Thailand1 week ago

Thailand News Today | No STV tourists, Boss in Dubai, border fears in Tak | October 13

Thailand News Today | Land bridge project, “Thai Bridge”, Chaing Mai black widow | October 12 | The Thaiger
Thailand1 week ago

Thailand News Today | Land bridge project, “Thai Bridge”, Chaing Mai black widow | October 12

Thailand News Today | Army v Twitter, Tourism interrupted, Thailand World’s #6 | October 9 | The Thaiger
Thailand2 weeks ago

Thailand News Today | Army v Twitter, Tourism interrupted, Thailand World’s #6 | October 9

Thailand News Today | Tourist arrivals postponed, Will Boss return?, deadly centipede | October 8 | The Thaiger
Video & Podcasts2 weeks ago

Thailand News Today | Tourist arrivals postponed, Will Boss return?, deadly centipede | October 8

Thailand News Today | Poll-Keep borders closed, quarantine exemption, heavy rain | October 7 | The Thaiger
Thailand2 weeks ago

Thailand News Today | Poll-Keep borders closed, quarantine exemption, heavy rain | October 7

Thailand News Today | Business people exemptions, road checkpoints, Phuket delay | October 6 | The Thaiger
Thailand2 weeks ago

Thailand News Today | Business people exemptions, road checkpoints, Phuket delay | October 6

Thailand News Today | Live from Thammasat, Sacked teacher sues parents, Pattaya eating contest | October 5, 2020 | The Thaiger
Thailand2 weeks ago

Thailand News Today | Live from Thammasat, Sacked teacher sues parents, Pattaya eating contest | October 5, 2020

Thailand News Today | Prison release?, Pattaya Makeover, 6 new Covid cases | October 2 | The Thaiger
Video & Podcasts3 weeks ago

Thailand News Today | Prison release?, Pattaya Makeover, 6 new Covid cases | October 2

Thailand News Today | Waiting for vaccine, new face of Thailand expats, teacher complaints | Oct 1 | The Thaiger
Video & Podcasts3 weeks ago

Thailand News Today | Waiting for vaccine, new face of Thailand expats, teacher complaints | Oct 1

Follow The Thaiger by email:

Trending