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Using Thai cell phone outside of Thailand


MrBrad

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I have a regular, old-fashioned Motorola cell phone...nothing fancy. Having been with True for some years now, I've never tried to use my phone outside of Thailand. I'm going to Malaysia and Singapore next week, and so I went to True's store to make sure it would work internationally. They say it will.

But, my questions are:

  1. What is considered an international call? That is,
  2. Can I call back to Thailand just by pressing my speed-dial numbers as usual?
  3. Where is the phone based? If it's Thailand, wouldn't a call from Singapore to Chiang Mai be a local call?
  4. If the usual speed dial numbers don't work, do I have to dial the Thai international code of +66?
  5. Would a call to a friend in Singapore be an international call even if I am in Singapore myself?
  6. What would be the numbers to call for a call within Singapore? Should I include the Singapore area code?
  7. And the same question calling within Kuala Lumpur?

Am I making this more confusing that it actually is? It's Greek to me. Thanks much for your help.

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I have a regular, old-fashioned Motorola cell phone...nothing fancy. Having been with True for some years now, I've never tried to use my phone outside of Thailand. I'm going to Malaysia and Singapore next week, and so I went to True's store to make sure it would work internationally. They say it will.

But, my questions are:

  • What is considered an international call? That is,
  • Can I call back to Thailand just by pressing my speed-dial numbers as usual?
  • Where is the phone based? If it's Thailand, wouldn't a call from Singapore to Chiang Mai be a local call?
  • If the usual speed dial numbers don't work, do I have to dial the Thai international code of +66?
  • Would a call to a friend in Singapore be an international call even if I am in Singapore myself?
  • What would be the numbers to call for a call within Singapore? Should I include the Singapore area code?
  • And the same question calling within Kuala Lumpur?
Am I making this more confusing that it actually is? It's Greek to me. Thanks much for your help.

I use roaming in my phone with true as I travel for work. If you have it all set up with them let me have a crack.

1. No. From singapore you need to add +66 to your local thai numbers

2. You are roaming so consider singapore your local. Anything outside of that country is international

3. If your roaming is set up for singapore you could just dial the local # and it should be local roaming rates

Sorry I'm doing this on my phone so it's hard to see each point.

OB

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I have AIS, but I suspect it will be the same with True unless you get some kind of international roaming package.

  1. What is considered an international call? Everything - all inbound and outbound calls are billed at ridiculous charges (for AIS it is around 150 baht per minute)
  2. Can I call back to Thailand just by pressing my speed-dial numbers as usual? Only if the number is stored with the leading 66.
  3. Where is the phone based? If it's Thailand, wouldn't a call from Singapore to Chiang Mai be a local call? The phone is based where it happens to be, so if you are in Singapore it is "long distance" to Thailand
  4. If the usual speed dial numbers don't work, do I have to dial the Thai international code of +66? Yes
  5. Would a call to a friend in Singapore be an international call even if I am in Singapore myself? Yes
  6. What would be the numbers to call for a call within Singapore? Should I include the Singapore area code? Yes
  7. And the same question calling within Kuala Lumpur? Same

And just don't try data, it will cost a fortune as well. I usually just buy a local SIM and use that while roaming, or alternately you can pick up another cheap phone or a dual SIM phone so you can call wiith the local one and have the second receiving calls and SMS for emergency.

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Thank you for the answers. True did tell me that calls TO Singapore and KL would be 33 baht per minute. I don't know if the same rate is applicable in reverse. Oh, well. I really don't plan on using the phone much; just calling to "report in" and say that all's well.

Thanks all for your help.

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Dealing with old phones can lead to some very frustration times and wasted time ... You can buy a pretty good Android Smartphone for 3500 Baht in many Tesco or Big C Mini mall phone shops (I know because I have one - bought at one of the mini malls I mentions -- it has run great and will do most anythings - like a small computer -- for cheap ...

Smartphones work - and they work well and are very likely to work in other countries -- such as the USA -- Metro PCS SIMS will work in most newer Thai phones and there are others...

No need to worry about international phone rates or calls -- use Skype pay less than 10 USD and make international calls all day long ... no limit to the number of calls or minutes - or use the LINE App -- same thing -- call LINE TO LINE -- even video for free -- about 50 percent of Thailand does - including a heck of a lot of Expats

Edited by JDGRUEN
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  • 2 weeks later...

I thought I'd give anyone interested a report on what actually happened. I went to Singapore and Kuala Lumpur a few days ago with 868 baht on my phone. True Move told me that the rates calling back to Thailand would be 33 baht each minute. Well, it didn't work out quite that economically. Before the end of the trip True sent me a message saying I had only 8 baht remaining, and I should replenish my account. Huh???

Yesterday I stopped by the True office to find out the real rates. I made 6 calls of somewhere around 2 minutes or so each. In baht, the calls were: 70, 105, 105, 240, 83, and 240 plus a 17 baht text message. It looks like only 2 of the calls got the 33 baht rate. The clerk showed me on their computer that for the other calls there was a higher rate of 95 baht from Singapore and a rate of 86 baht from KL. What the hell?

I was cautioned by a friend that there could be roaming charges if the phone was left on, so I always turned it off when not in use. All of the numbers dialed were preceded with a + and then 66, e.g., +66-xx-xxx-xxxx. The True service person said that this was my mistake, i.e., I should have dialed 00-66-xx-xxx-xxxx. Actually I'd tried that at first, and the call didn't go through.

I'm just wanting to pass along my experience. Maybe others can learn something from this. And, hopefully, maybe one of you reading this can give me a clue as to what I did wrong, if anything. Any ideas how to get by cheaper when out of the country? I don't travel often, but I know I will be doing something similar again.

Thanks for your advice.

Incidentally, I learned that the + for international calls can be accessed by depressing the 0 key and holding it depressed for a couple seconds.

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It's so much cheaper to just buy a local sim card in whatever country you are in.

They are cheap to buy and will last for app 6 month so if you return within that time you just top it up and your sim cards life span will be extended too.

I always do that.

I now have a small plastic bag in my valet containing app 5 sim cards from 5 different countries.

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It's so much cheaper to just buy a local sim card in whatever country you are in.

They are cheap to buy and will last for app 6 month so if you return within that time you just top it up and your sim cards life span will be extended too.

I always do that.

I now have a small plastic bag in my valet containing app 5 sim cards from 5 different countries.

Yes, but... If I were to buy a sim card in, say, Singapore, what kind of rate would I pay to call Thailand from Singapore? It seems to me that the new sim card would be convenient and economical if I called within Singapore only. And, for right now, I don't even know any Singaporeans.

Please correct me if my thinking is wrong.

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Yes, but... If I were to buy a sim card in, say, Singapore, what kind of rate would I pay to call Thailand from Singapore? It seems to me that the new sim card would be convenient and economical if I called within Singapore only. And, for right now, I don't even know any Singaporeans.

Please correct me if my thinking is wrong.

When you use a Singapore sim card in Singapore you can dial 09 or 07 in front of the Thai mobile phone no you want to contact and you pay local call tariff.

I did that a lot in 2014 and talked for many hours with my wife in Thailand that way.

Also you can buy an i-net package 1GB 7 days for 7S$ which is okay for light use, so 1S$ per day.

I forgot to add: Singtel sim card for above.

Edited by guzzi850m2
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The "good" rates probably apply *only* when you're connected to a carrier that has a peering agreement with True back in Thailand. So if your phone is set to auto connect to whichever network it feels is strongest, it may connect to a different carrier and you'd get a different rate.

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Yes, but... If I were to buy a sim card in, say, Singapore, what kind of rate would I pay to call Thailand from Singapore? It seems to me that the new sim card would be convenient and economical if I called within Singapore only. And, for right now, I don't even know any Singaporeans.

Please correct me if my thinking is wrong.

When you use a Singapore sim card in Singapore you can dial 09 or 07 in front of the Thai mobile phone no you want to contact and you pay local call tariff.

I did that a lot in 2014 and talked for many hours with my wife in Thailand that way.

Also you can buy an i-net package 1GB 7 days for 7S$ which is okay for light use, so 1S$ per day.

I forgot to add: Singtel sim card for above.

Thanks. But just so I have this correct, I still need to dial the 66 Thai international code, right. So, it's 09-66-xx-xxx-xxxx, right?

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in my electronic phone book, I add country code '+66' for Thailand and '+65' for Singapore and '+852' for Hong Kong, and so on . . . ADVANTAGE, I search the person name and press DIAL and it connects whatever I am in Thailand or I am overseas. DISADVANTAGE, while I am overseas the call is considered at a priority rate ( highest tariff ) in any connected overseas network.

as build9 mentioned, if that network hasn't any peering agreement, we pay a ridiculous international roaming rate. also, if we don't set MANUAL network selection, the phone connects to any available network by signal strength. near door girl went to Singapore with an iPhone ( voice + data ), she came back with a phone bill more expensive than an air ticket.

with True ( and AIS ), when we switch on our phone overseas and True sends some SMS about overseas roaming offer. follow these instructions straight including any pre-dialling code, then you get a relatively lower roaming tariff at that selected network.

ALTERNATIVE, True and AIS and DTAC all offer pre-registered one-off overseas roaming packages. I didn't try it yet. ALSO, some overseas networks provide local + international SIM, I often take this choice for overseas local calls and Thailand home calls.

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I travel a lot to many destinations and usually by the time my flight stops at the arrival gate, I will have 3 or 4 text messages from the local affiliate of AIS offering me discounted calling and text packages. I rarely use them because I always have a company phone for any business calls I have to make but the rates offered are much lower than standard roaming.

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But, my questions are:

  1. What is considered an international call? That is,
  2. Can I call back to Thailand just by pressing my speed-dial numbers as usual?
  3. Where is the phone based? If it's Thailand, wouldn't a call from Singapore to Chiang Mai be a local call?
  4. If the usual speed dial numbers don't work, do I have to dial the Thai international code of +66?
  5. Would a call to a friend in Singapore be an international call even if I am in Singapore myself?
  6. What would be the numbers to call for a call within Singapore? Should I include the Singapore area code?
  7. And the same question calling within Kuala Lumpur?

Am I making this more confusing that it actually is? It's Greek to me. Thanks much for your help.

1. An international call is a call made out the sim card's origin. So if the sim card comes from thailand any number that it calls that isn't from thailand is considered an international call.

2. Doubt it. The sim card comes from thailand and it's using a foreign network. Obviously it needs to input + and the country code before it can call back to thailand. Again it's using a local phone network which in your case is singapore how would singapore teleco networks recognize thailand's numbering system and more importantly why should it be thailand when there are so many countries in the world and i am sure some of them have the same number of digits as thai numbers. The only numbers you can call without putting in the + and country code would be singapore numbers and if you are roaming in another country change singapore to that country's phone numbering system.

3. Why would a call from singapore to chiang mai be a local call? Doesn't make sense at all. In any case yes your thai number is obviously based in thailand but when you are in singapore you will be connected to a singapore network which is called roaming. When you call back to thailand you are using a singapore phone network to connect to a thai network on roaming. So it's a roaming international call. A roaming local call would be using your thai number in singapore to call a singapore number. It's pretty commonsense.

4. I am sure even with your old fashioned phone you need to press the speed dial first and the number shows up and then you press it again to dial right? Before you do that just add +66 before the number if you cannot remember the number to dial.

5. Using your thai number in singapore would mean that it is on roaming mode and typically roaming charges whether using the internet or making phone calls are very expensive. I am not sure if there are different charges while roaming for calling local numbers or foreign numbers. You can search for it though. Information on singapore services are all in english and very easy to search. You can call up the teleco company in singapore and they all understand english so it is very easy to get such information.

6. If you mean by how long singapore numbers are well all singapore numbers are 8 digits long. All land lines start with the number 6 while cell phone numbers either start with 9 or 8. Not difficult to remember at all. You should just input +65 too just in case or you can just test it out yourself. I can test it out actually since i have 2 thai cell phone numbers. Emergency numbers like police, ambulance etc should be contactable too since your number is connected to a singapore network they will recognize those numbers.

7. Calling malaysia while roaming in singapore is known as international roaming call. You can actually call up true to ask them if you have problems calling singapore telecos.

Such information is readily available.

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I thought I'd give anyone interested a report on what actually happened. I went to Singapore and Kuala Lumpur a few days ago with 868 baht on my phone. True Move told me that the rates calling back to Thailand would be 33 baht each minute. Well, it didn't work out quite that economically. Before the end of the trip True sent me a message saying I had only 8 baht remaining, and I should replenish my account. Huh???

Yesterday I stopped by the True office to find out the real rates. I made 6 calls of somewhere around 2 minutes or so each. In baht, the calls were: 70, 105, 105, 240, 83, and 240 plus a 17 baht text message. It looks like only 2 of the calls got the 33 baht rate. The clerk showed me on their computer that for the other calls there was a higher rate of 95 baht from Singapore and a rate of 86 baht from KL. What the hell?

I was cautioned by a friend that there could be roaming charges if the phone was left on, so I always turned it off when not in use. All of the numbers dialed were preceded with a + and then 66, e.g., +66-xx-xxx-xxxx. The True service person said that this was my mistake, i.e., I should have dialed 00-66-xx-xxx-xxxx. Actually I'd tried that at first, and the call didn't go through.

I'm just wanting to pass along my experience. Maybe others can learn something from this. And, hopefully, maybe one of you reading this can give me a clue as to what I did wrong, if anything. Any ideas how to get by cheaper when out of the country? I don't travel often, but I know I will be doing something similar again.

Thanks for your advice.

Incidentally, I learned that the + for international calls can be accessed by depressing the 0 key and holding it depressed for a couple seconds.




That means they have a special code to make cheaper international calls. All countries have it. One if a direct international call or they might have promos like call 019 + country code to get cheaper rates.






It's so much cheaper to just buy a local sim card in whatever country you are in.

They are cheap to buy and will last for app 6 month so if you return within that time you just top it up and your sim cards life span will be extended too.

I always do that.

I now have a small plastic bag in my valet containing app 5 sim cards from 5 different countries.

Yes, but... If I were to buy a sim card in, say, Singapore, what kind of rate would I pay to call Thailand from Singapore? It seems to me that the new sim card would be convenient and economical if I called within Singapore only. And, for right now, I don't even know any Singaporeans.

Please correct me if my thinking is wrong.



The purpose of getting a singapore sim card is to avoid roaming charges which would end up being more expensive for you. Why do you think you need to know singaporeans or the local people in a country before you get a sim from that country. You need to provide ID. All sg sims require ID to register.

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I think a bit of background will be useful here. International phone calls are a pretty old concept, with the corresponding "country codes" assigned more or less alphabetically by order of entry - "Singapore" is 65, "Thailand" is 66; USA gets to be "1" basically thanks to them saying "none of you would have telephones if not for Alexander Graham Bell, and he's one of us".

(This is why countries which either didn't exist earlier, or only got their act together later, have higher/odder numbers - China is 86, Cambodia is 855)

Using "+" with a country code is a convenience introduced with mobile phones. It doesn't matter what telco network you're connected to, dialling +66-123456789 will connect you to the phone 123456789 in Thailand, and *you can use this even in Thailand itself*. This is why if you travel a lot, it makes sense to store phone numbers with the "+ country codes" in your phone address book - whether you're abroad or in the same country, you will reach that number. (Some smart phones are smart enough to handle it anyway, but this way you can be sure)

For reasons of capitalism, the telcos will also bill at their highest rate if you rely upon this convenience.

But whatever country you're in, unless the telco blocks international calls/you don't have the money, dialing "+xx-whatever" will connect you.

The other methods all vary by country and telco. For example if yours on DTAC, you can dial "004" before the country code and then phone number, to use DTAC's cheap VOIP setup (basically their own implementation of what Skype does). 004 doesn't work with AIS or True - they want you to use prefixes like 006 or 003. So the point is this - if you're in another country, you'll need to research the code to use and the number to dial, for the specific SIM you're using, because its telco-specific. There's no shortcut. Well OK there's "+xx" but, as above, unless your home carrier has a peering agreement with a roaming carrier *you're actually connected to*, you're going to be going above and beyond in helping paying for some telco exec's mistress's jewelry.

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I think a bit of background will be useful here. International phone calls are a pretty old concept, with the corresponding "country codes" assigned more or less alphabetically by order of entry - "Singapore" is 65, "Thailand" is 66; USA gets to be "1" basically thanks to them saying "none of you would have telephones if not for Alexander Graham Bell, and he's one of us".

(This is why countries which either didn't exist earlier, or only got their act together later, have higher/odder numbers - China is 86, Cambodia is 855)

Using "+" with a country code is a convenience introduced with mobile phones. It doesn't matter what telco network you're connected to, dialling +66-123456789 will connect you to the phone 123456789 in Thailand, and *you can use this even in Thailand itself*. This is why if you travel a lot, it makes sense to store phone numbers with the "+ country codes" in your phone address book - whether you're abroad or in the same country, you will reach that number. (Some smart phones are smart enough to handle it anyway, but this way you can be sure)

For reasons of capitalism, the telcos will also bill at their highest rate if you rely upon this convenience.

But whatever country you're in, unless the telco blocks international calls/you don't have the money, dialing "+xx-whatever" will connect you.

The other methods all vary by country and telco. For example if yours on DTAC, you can dial "004" before the country code and then phone number, to use DTAC's cheap VOIP setup (basically their own implementation of what Skype does). 004 doesn't work with AIS or True - they want you to use prefixes like 006 or 003. So the point is this - if you're in another country, you'll need to research the code to use and the number to dial, for the specific SIM you're using, because its telco-specific. There's no shortcut. Well OK there's "+xx" but, as above, unless your home carrier has a peering agreement with a roaming carrier *you're actually connected to*, you're going to be going above and beyond in helping paying for some telco exec's mistress's jewelry.

Well the fact of the matter is most ppl use whatsapp nowadays and you need to add the + and the country code to the number before you can add the contact because whatsapp won't be able to find and add if you don't have that. Tried it and done it before.

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Well the fact of the matter is most ppl use whatsapp nowadays and you need to add the + and the country code to the number before you can add the contact because whatsapp won't be able to find and add if you don't have that. Tried it and done it before.

Yes, WhatsApp depends on the ITU convention I tried to describe in my post.

(it should be smart enough to default to "assuming" your country code based on your own SIM card's "nationality", though)

Thailand seems more Line territory than WhatsApp; can't beat the cuteness of Brown and Cony.

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Well the fact of the matter is most ppl use whatsapp nowadays and you need to add the + and the country code to the number before you can add the contact because whatsapp won't be able to find and add if you don't have that. Tried it and done it before.

Yes, WhatsApp depends on the ITU convention I tried to describe in my post.

(it should be smart enough to default to "assuming" your country code based on your own SIM card's "nationality", though)

Thailand seems more Line territory than WhatsApp; can't beat the cuteness of Brown and Cony.

True most thai ppl seem to use line but it's no biggie i have both line and whatsapp anyway so no problems for me.

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