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Smart Phone & 3G


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Hey all,

A few questions please about buying a new smart phone? I have had my current GSM phone longer than I care to say and it's time to update to something with newer technology and all the whistles and bells.

I have been reading and reading about the different phones and also about the probability that 3G will eventually come to most of Thailand. I know now that BKK and CM and I think Pattaya and a few places have been test beds for 3G and the squabbling over licensing and so on continues.

I live in the Ban Chang area of Rayong so it will be some time yet before we see 3G here but I guess the area does have Edge? This is where I get gray about what is available and where.

My current AIS 12 Call GSM phone works here and if I need to connect to the internet if my ADSL line quits I can do so with the GSM phone but very, very slow.

First the phone brand and model?

I am looking at in order of preference the Samsung Galaxy SII, then Samsung Galaxy S, HTC Sensation and possibly a Nokia. Whatever I end up with I would prefer to stay with my current phone number and the AIS system. I know number porting is possible now so if I had to change service companies should not be a big deal.

Not completely understanding the systems and these new phones? Do I need a new sim card? Or will my current sim be ok? When I buy the new phone do I need to go to the local AIS office and subscribe to a data package? Please someone enlighten me on this side of getting the phone operating correctly.

Please anyone that has shopping experience or already owns these phones give me some feedback and the steps to get the phone working. There is no 3G here in my area yet so I would guess paying for 3G in the test areas would be a waste of baht?

Thanks for giving me the needed info to help me make a better choice.

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I live in the Ban Chang area of Rayong so it will be some time yet before we see 3G here but I guess the area does have Edge? This is where I get gray about what is available and where.

Believe it or not Edge is not available in all areas near Rayong. GPRS is your only option.

My current AIS 12 Call GSM phone works here and if I need to connect to the internet if my ADSL line quits I can do so with the GSM phone but very, very slow.

Many modern cell phones allow 'tethering' which is what you are talking about.

Not completely understanding the systems and these new phones? Do I need a new sim card? Or will my current sim be ok? When I buy the new phone do I need to go to the local AIS office and subscribe to a data package? Please someone enlighten me on this side of getting the phone operating correctly.

Yes, you can use your present SIM card, but you will need to contact AIS or Telewiz to enable data. Be aware most data plans are not just 3G. Usually it is a package of 2G, 3G, and Wifi.

As you are aware, there are a lot of politics over 3G. Right now, the carriers are using the 3G frequencies that correspond to the 2G frequencies that they presently use to get around the problem that 3G frequencies have not been allocated. Hence the 3G 2100Mhz frequency is not used and the uncommon 3G 850Mhz frequency is used instead.

There are some new Smartphones that provide Quad Band 3G support (don't confuse with Quad Band voice or 2G GSM/GPRS/EDGE support). It would be best to buy a Smartphone that has Quad Band 3G support, so you wouldn't be locked out of 3G when it becomes available in your area.

Presently in the areas 3G is offered, AIS is using 900 Mhz 3G; DTAC and CAT/TRUE are using 850 Mhz 3G; TOT and it's MVNO's are using 1900 Mhz 3G. That could change when the frequencies are officially allocated.

Personally, I recommend an Android based Smartphone. If you use GMail or GMaps it integrates well with Android. It's fast becoming the most popular OS provided on most Smartphones. But it really depends on what you will be using the phone for. If you want secure messaging or you want physical keyboards go for Blackberry (some people don't like touch screen keyboards). If you are an iTunes fan go for iPhone. Be aware that the Symbian OS used by Nokia may not be supported in the future

I personally prefer a Smartphone that has WiFi support. I use my Smartphone off my home Wifi most of the time. It cuts down on data charges.There are Wifi hotspots even in areas where 3G is not offered.

Edited by BB1950
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'Yes, you can use your present SIM card, but you will need to contact AIS or Telewiz to enable data. Be aware most data plans are not just 3G. Usually it is a package of 2G, 3G, and Wifi.'

You may find that your old 1-2-call SIM card will not work, but a visit to a Telewiz shop will replace it free on the spot(and keep your number). They can also explain the 'time' or 'volume' based packages to you.

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Thanks for the good info thus far.

Can someone post a few links to some sites for AIS and True and others that will show the data coverage for the Rayong area?

I have looked but so far no luck finding a site

I don't think you will find any sites for data coverage. Usually they will only show coverage areas for 3G or WiFi. I don't think they would cover Rayong yet. AFAIK, 3G is not available in the Rayong area and WiFi is very spotty due to limited range.

Since some kind of 2G is available just about everywhere, they don't publish 2G coverage information. If you have voice, you will have data as well. It's more like see what you get.

As a general rule: The closer to major roads, and populated areas you will find EDGE available. In the rural areas, you will usually find GPRS. I don't think there are any GSM only cells anymore.

Given that, it wouldn't hurt to check with AIS/Telewiz, TOT, or True Shop in the Rayong area if you want more information.

Edited by BB1950
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