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3g Has Arrived - Any Takers?


chiangmaiexpat

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It seemed like science fiction when I first set foot in this country, but now you can get 3G data service in Chiang Mai. Today I went to Central Kad Suan Gaew to find out more about it. The only provider currently offering 3G is AIS. You need a special 3G-enabled phone and SIM card for it. A 3G phone costs between 3,500 THB (cheapest model) and several 10,000 THB. A 3G SIM card costs 110 THB. The people from the DTAC shop said that DTAC will be offering it in June. The problem seems to be that AIS -and very likely also DTAC- offer 3G services using the existing 900 MHz GSM band and not the 2100 Mhz band which is international standard for 3G. The friendly ladys at the Telewiz shop told me that I cannot use it with my phone, because my HP IPAQ pocket PC phone is designed for the international standard 2100 Mhz band. Needless to say I wasn't very pleased. Theoretically, you can get 14.4 Mbps data-download speed with a HSPA capable 3G phone. Somehow I suspect it may be less in Thailand. Perhaps enough to stream audio, do VoIP, and view an occasional YouTube clip. If my phone wasn't allegedly incompatible, I'd give it a try.

Anyone got it to work yet?

BTW, these are their (AIS) current rates for prepaid packages:

500 MB - 100 THB

1.5 GB - 300 THB

2.5 GB - 500 THB

15 GB - 900 THB

30 GB - 1500 THB

This works out to 0.2 - 0.048 THB per MB. Very likely cheaper than the slower GPRS/EDGE service.

Cheers, CMX

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They are running it in very limited 900MHz "slice" so their capasity is very limited regards to number of users they can support at the moment. Also coverage is very limited (downtown CM and Siam Center in BKK). They might install few base stations more but nothing in bigger scale until they have decision on 2100MHz licences from government. Latest is that they will issue licences Q3. It actually been Q3 since 2004 or 2005 so who knows if they get is done this time or not.

DTAC claims any day now but the fact is that they do not have any equipment installed yet. Vendors are selected but that's it. I guess they are waiting as well what happens with 2100MHz licences.

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I wonder if anyone can define the coverage area precisely. The ladies at Telewiz shop weren't too sure about it.

These are phone models that -according to AIS- work with their 3G service:

Nokia 6121 (8,900 THB)

phoneOne 3GM602 (3,990 THB)

phoneOne 3GE500 HSPA USB Model (5,990 THB)

Nokia E71

Nokia N96

Nokia N78

Nokia N71

Nokia E66

Cheers, CMX

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About 2 months ago there was a notebook with a 3G USB stick from AIS in the maze cafe in nimmanhaemin-road for testing the network. It was indeed fast like DSL, but the coverage is only inside the superhighway ring. But the biggest problem with internet here isn't the mobile coverage but the international connection speed. 3G doesn't help at all for this problem, maybe even making it worse (more traffic from mobile users). 3G in the rural areas (wehre no DSL is available) is unlikely anyway.

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3G is soooo outdated. Hasn't come to Thailand yet? Oh well. next!

Let me know when HSPDA is in town. :o Right now extremely happy with my 4Mbps CAT ADSL.

The 3G in Chiang Mai is HSPDA. It has been here for more than 6 months already.

I am not an expert in the field but if using the existing network of 900Mhz on W-CDMA technology is part of HSPDA in your opinion then good on ya. (technically you are right, it is HSPA). I would have been more interested to see the actual UMTS license given by NTC (whenever that happens) to operate on the more normal 2.1Ghz 3G network. As its been mentioned before on this thread, there is a very limited number of phones that can operate 3G at this frequency by AIS, if the network does not get congested that is on the 900Mhz.

2.1Ghz 3G of course just to please some of the many iPhone users to make more out of their phone :D (i am not one of them btw)

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I've had it since rollout last year (AIS 3GSM Advance is the branding for the package).

I use it as a backup to my (free) apt bldg LAN (Maxnet ADSL).

I also have a DTAC acct on a Nokia 6300 which I use as a backup to my backup (!)

One can't be too cautious when it comes to internet service in Thailand..... :o

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I've had it since rollout last year (AIS 3GSM Advance is the branding for the package).

I use it as a backup to my (free) apt bldg LAN (Maxnet ADSL).

I also have a DTAC acct on a Nokia 6300 which I use as a backup to my backup (!)

One can't be too cautious when it comes to internet service in Thailand..... :o

Excuse my ignorance but what does 3g means in terms of download and upload speeds.

For example I just did speedtest.net test on my PC in the CM office to a Bangkok server.

Download was 2396 kb/s

upload was 425 kb/s

Do you or does anyone else know what 3g would do as an approximate average using the same kb/s. I'm afraid I get a bit confused with mbits and kbits and mbytes.

Just curious to know how fast it is compared to my pc at work and or gprs edge.

Regards

CM2

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I'm afraid I get a bit confused with mbits and kbits and mbytes.

Sometimes even the providers confuse bits and bytes. At the DTAC shop I visited last week, they weren't sure about it either. The technical limit for HSPA is 14.4 Mbps (mega bits per second = 1.8 mega bytes per second) download speed which is twice as fast as a T3 line, and faster than Ethernet 10M.

I think we would be blessed if the actual speed in Thailand is around 1-2 Mbps (128-256 kBps), which is roughly that of an average DSL connection. That should be fast enough to stream a Youtube clip, for example.

Has anyone with 3G access measured the actual DL/UPL speed yet?

An alternative to 3G/HSPA would be the CDMA service offered by CAT (www.catcdma.com). This week, I will go to their shop to find out more about it. As far as I understand, CDMA does not have the coverage limitations that 3G/HSPA currently has.

Cheers, CMX

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An alternative to 3G/HSPA would be the CDMA service offered by CAT (www.catcdma.com). This week, I will go to their shop to find out more about it. As far as I understand, CDMA does not have the coverage limitations that 3G/HSPA currently has.

Cheers, CMX

The CAT CDMA is a much better alternative IMHO. But the start hardware (aircard/dongle) is a bit on the pricey side.

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I went to the CAT headquarters on the Superhighway this morning to find out more about CDMA. The staff was very friendly over there. They demoed the CDMA system to me and let me play with their equipment. I decided to subscribe (around 750 THB per month) and buy a USB modem. So here is the deal:

You buy a consumer device (modem or phone) plus a monthly subscription. You get broadband access almost anywhere. CDMA is a 3G mobile technology that is available in most parts of Thailand except in Bangkok and the central provinces. It delivers broadband Internet access at a theoretical limit of 3.1 Mbps, however, the practical CAT speed limit is around 1.5 Mbps at this time. The actual speed depends on your distance from the next transmission tower, as signal degradation limits throughput. I am currently 1500m away from the transmission station and I get 1.2 Mbps DL-speed max. You can go to their office and they'll show you where the next tower is located.

Installation is dead easy. The USB modem autoconfigures with Windows XP and Vista. There's no need to do anything except to click on "connect". I've run some first tests this morning and it seems that the speed is comparable to average Thai ADSL. I still have a Maxnet 2048 Mbps subscription at this time that has served me well over the past two years. The latter costs about the same (750 THB per month) and delivers similar speeds. The full 2048 Mbps capacity with standard ADSL is available only when downloading from a server in Thailand early in the morning.

The CAT representative told me that any protocol/port can be used with CDMA without limitation.

My wife was impressed, too. She bought a CDMA capable phone right away. The USB modem costs 8250 THB. This relatively high entry price could help to keep away bandwidth-hogging teenagers with an MP3 addiction, but perhaps I am too optimistic. :o

Cheers, CMX

Edited by chiangmaiexpat
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. . . I still have a Maxnet 2048 Mbps subscription at this time that has served me well over the past two years. The latter costs about the same (750 THB per month) and delivers similar speeds. . .

Thanks for the report, CMX. Your quoted comment, though, leaves me puzzled. What benefit are you receiving that justifies the cost and trouble of switching?

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Excuse my ignorance but what does 3g means in terms of download and upload speeds.

For example I just did speedtest.net test on my PC in the CM office to a Bangkok server.

Download was 2396 kb/s

upload was 425 kb/s

Do you or does anyone else know what 3g would do as an approximate average using the same kb/s. I'm afraid I get a bit confused with mbits and kbits and mbytes.

Just curious to know how fast it is compared to my pc at work and or gprs edge.

Regards

CM2

CAT is using CDMA EVDO Rev A.

AIS 3.5G is HSDPA/HSUPA.

Normal 3G (without HSPA) is UMTS below. EDGE and GPRS also included.

Theoretical speeds, in practise connections is shared (just like ADSL) and also depends on the signal strenght in your location.

Mobile telephone interfaces

Note that the values given are maximum values, and actual values may be slower under certain conditions (for example, noise). Where two values are listed, the first value is the downstream rate and the second value is the upstream rate.

GSM CSD 14.4 kbit/s 1.8 kB/s

HSCSD 57.6/14.4 kbit/s 5.4/1.8 kB/s

GPRS 57.6/28.8 kbit/s 7.2/3.6 kB/s

WiDEN 100 kbit/s 12.5 kB/s

CDMA2000 1xRTT 153 kbit/s 18 kB/s

EDGE (type 1 MS) 236.8 kbit/s 29.6 kB/s

UMTS 384 kbit/s 48 kB/s

EDGE (type 2 MS) 473.6 kbit/s 59.2 kB/s

EDGE Evolution (type 1 MS) 1,184/474 kbit/s 148/59 kB/s

EDGE Evolution (type 2 MS) 1,894/947 kbit/s 237/118 kB/s

1xEV-DO Rev. 0 2,457/153 kbit/s 307.2/19 kB/s

1xEV-DO Rev. A 3,100/1,800 kbit/s 397/230 kB/s

3xEV-DO Rev. B 9,300/5,400 kbit/s 1,162/675 kB/s

HSDPA/HSUPA 14,400/5760 kbit/s 1,800/720 kB/s

4xEV-DO Enhancements (2X2 MIMO) 34,400/12,400 kbit/s 4,300/1,550 kB/s

HSPA+ (2X2 MIMO) 42,000/11,500 kbit/s 5,250/1,437 kB/s

15xEV-DO Rev. B 73,500/27,000 kbit/s 9,200/3,375 kB/s

UMB (2X2 MIMO) 140,000/34,000 kbit/s 17,500/4,250 kB/s

LTE (2X2 MIMO) 173,000/58,000 kbit/s 21,625/7,250 kB/s

UMB (4X4 MIMO) 280,000/68,000 kbit/s 35,000/8,500 kB/s

EV-DO Rev. C 280,000/75,000 kbit/s 35,000/9,000 kB/s

LTE (4X4 MIMO) 326,000/86,000 kbit/s 40,750/10,750 kB/s

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. . . I still have a Maxnet 2048 Mbps subscription at this time that has served me well over the past two years. The latter costs about the same (750 THB per month) and delivers similar speeds. . .

Thanks for the report, CMX. Your quoted comment, though, leaves me puzzled. What benefit are you receiving that justifies the cost and trouble of switching?

I will move to a new house next month where Maxnet is not available. I also talked to TOT and they cannot provide ADSL there until May (earliest). So, I might get ADSL in our new place later this year and keep CDMA as a redundant connection.

Another correction I need to make: I meant to say that CAT CDMA isn't available in Bangkok and the central provinces. CDMA is provided by Hutch there.

Cheers, CMX

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Excuse my ignorance but what does 3g means in terms of download and upload speeds.

For example I just did speedtest.net test on my PC in the CM office to a Bangkok server.

Download was 2396 kb/s

upload was 425 kb/s

Do you or does anyone else know what 3g would do as an approximate average using the same kb/s. I'm afraid I get a bit confused with mbits and kbits and mbytes.

Just curious to know how fast it is compared to my pc at work and or gprs edge.

Regards

CM2

CAT is using CDMA EVDO Rev A.

AIS 3.5G is HSDPA/HSUPA.

Normal 3G (without HSPA) is UMTS below. EDGE and GPRS also included.

Theoretical speeds, in practise connections is shared (just like ADSL) and also depends on the signal strenght in your location.

Mobile telephone interfaces

Note that the values given are maximum values, and actual values may be slower under certain conditions (for example, noise). Where two values are listed, the first value is the downstream rate and the second value is the upstream rate.

GSM CSD 14.4 kbit/s 1.8 kB/s

HSCSD 57.6/14.4 kbit/s 5.4/1.8 kB/s

GPRS 57.6/28.8 kbit/s 7.2/3.6 kB/s

WiDEN 100 kbit/s 12.5 kB/s

CDMA2000 1xRTT 153 kbit/s 18 kB/s

EDGE (type 1 MS) 236.8 kbit/s 29.6 kB/s

UMTS 384 kbit/s 48 kB/s

EDGE (type 2 MS) 473.6 kbit/s 59.2 kB/s

EDGE Evolution (type 1 MS) 1,184/474 kbit/s 148/59 kB/s

EDGE Evolution (type 2 MS) 1,894/947 kbit/s 237/118 kB/s

1xEV-DO Rev. 0 2,457/153 kbit/s 307.2/19 kB/s

1xEV-DO Rev. A 3,100/1,800 kbit/s 397/230 kB/s

3xEV-DO Rev. B 9,300/5,400 kbit/s 1,162/675 kB/s

HSDPA/HSUPA 14,400/5760 kbit/s 1,800/720 kB/s

4xEV-DO Enhancements (2X2 MIMO) 34,400/12,400 kbit/s 4,300/1,550 kB/s

HSPA+ (2X2 MIMO) 42,000/11,500 kbit/s 5,250/1,437 kB/s

15xEV-DO Rev. B 73,500/27,000 kbit/s 9,200/3,375 kB/s

UMB (2X2 MIMO) 140,000/34,000 kbit/s 17,500/4,250 kB/s

LTE (2X2 MIMO) 173,000/58,000 kbit/s 21,625/7,250 kB/s

UMB (4X4 MIMO) 280,000/68,000 kbit/s 35,000/8,500 kB/s

EV-DO Rev. C 280,000/75,000 kbit/s 35,000/9,000 kB/s

LTE (4X4 MIMO) 326,000/86,000 kbit/s 40,750/10,750 kB/s

Thank you for the wealth of information. Maybe my grandchildren would get to use the 3Gpp Long Term Evolution 4x4 mimo.

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