Colin Charles Agenda

Mobile prepaid broadband in Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore

When I was in Bangkok, Thailand recently, I received really good information from John Berns, one of the organisers of BarCampBangkok3. He told all out-of-town guests, that you have options for data, with regards to phone SIMs (which you can procure for less than 100 Baht, and topups range from 50, 100 and 300 Baht – cheap!):

If you want to get EDGE/GPRS data service, buy a One-2-Call SIM, it’s easy to set up and you can get 20 hours of EDGE/GPRS for B100. To subscribe, just dial *138 and follow the voice menu.

In Malaysia, prepaid broadband is not simple. Until now, it seems. I quote, from the article Driving mobile broadband to tourists:

Celcom Broadband Prepaid plans are available for RM20 for a week’s worth of unlimited Internet connections while RM6 will buy you 24 hours of unlimited connectivity. The connection speed is up to a maximum of 384 kilobits per second.

RM20 for a week’s worth of unlimited Internet access, that gives you 384kbps. That’s cheap! For a month, that is a meagre RM80, much cheaper than Maxis’s Broadband offering (albeit at a higher speed, but the service quality is horrendous) at RM138.

How is Celcom Broadband? Does it work well? It seems like they’re about the only provider that I have not subscribed to, and this prepaid deal is making me want to check it out. (Their website on the other hand is a complete useless hunk of Flash, that even MacOSX dislikes.)

Point to note: in Thailand, getting a SIM card is easy, you just buy it off the shelf. In Malaysia, they require ID checks, and an address (I’m sure a hotel’s would suffice, and a passport would do), as they need to add it to a centralised database, to track your naughty behaviour ;-)

The last time I was in Singapore, I also noticed something similar from M1: M1 Prepaid Broadband. 3 days of usage, up to 7.2mbps, and topup’s are SGD$18 for 3 days, and SGD$30 for 5 days. The card itself costs SGD$18. Very nifty (there was a promo for a little over a hundred bucks, you could even pick up an unlocked HSDPA modem!). Where else can I get prepaid broadband, on the cheap?

You own a modern phone? You own an iPhone? You definitely want something like this, considering you’ll find the location based services useful, as well as making use of the assisted GPS unit to find your way around. Looks like Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore have their bases covered for the mobile data warrior.