Posts Tagged ‘bangkok’

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.

I’m going to Barcamp Bangkok 3!

I’m going to Barcamp Bangkok 3. Its happening May 23-24, 2009, and I’ll be in Bangkok, Thailand from May 22 right till May 25.

I know @cerventus, and @nazroll will be there. @preetamrai from Singapore will be there too (blog) Will you be?

Wanted: nice, clean, cheap hotel, nearby to Sripatum University. Failing which, it should be a cheap tuk tuk ride away. WiFi in-room, is a requirement too. Thanks :)
[I’ve seen a list of hotels but I’m curious to know where most of the campers are staying?]

Thai Airways, good for business travellers

Found a postcard, and decided that I should send it along to her. Called up the wonderful reception, and they said I should bring along the postcard to the concierge.

At the concierge, I was told that I would need to pay 20 THB for postage. I asked if they could charge it to my room, and they declined. I waved a USD$1 note, and they said I’d have to change it at the reception.

Walk along to the reception, and I ask if they can give me cash out, and charge it to my room. Highly obliging, the receptionist, starts processing to give me my 20 THB. Its taking far too long, and I think to myself, maybe its easier to do a FOREX conversion. Without realising, I was thinking aloud, and the receptionist insisted that it was no hassle at all.

Two paw prints later, I had a crisp 20 THB note in my hand. I walked back towards the concierge, and handed it over to them.

What’s ironic about this whole transaction? In a couple of hours, I will be going down to settle my hotel bill. It will cost a magical sum of only 20 THB, and I will settle it with my credit card :-)

And here’s why flying Thai Airways might make business sense. Their planes reach Thailand early in the morning (9am, had my flight made it previously, or about 3am when coming back earlier). Their planes leave Thailand for other destinations pretty late – generally, the layover is about ten to eleven hours. They provide you a hotel (the Novotel Suvarnabhumi), at a cost to them.

So lets say I have a ten hour layover. I might need sleep for about 4-4.5 hours. It still allows me to have business meetings in Bangkok for about 3 hours, without any issue. Maybe even more, if the meetings are held at the Novotel Suvarnabhumi!

Their flights are pretty cheap. So cheap, that the next time I fly them, and if I’m going to India, its business class, or no flight at all. And when planned properly, maybe have many a meeting at the Novotel.

Internet access isn’t cheap, but its typical of a hotel: 150 THB for half an hour, 200 THB for an hour, 500 THB for 12 hours, 700 THB for 24 hours.

I ask myself though, why bother? When I’m done, I can head over to the airport, check in early, and visit the beautiful Royal Silk Lounge in the airport. Emphasis, on beautiful – its much better, IMHO, than the Singapore Airlines Lounge, in Changi. The food (and magazine/newspaper selection) doesn’t seem to be, but the ambience, the chairs/sofas/couches, definitely are.

All this thinking, reminds me of the shrewd startup style thinking that business travellers in startups should have.