How to get mobile internet in Thailand is one of the main questions that many travelers wonder when traveling in Thailand. There are different ways to stay connected during your trip in the Land of Smiles. Whether you prefer using a local SIM card, renting a pocket Wifi device, or using public Wifi, there are always options that suit your needs and budget.

Understanding the available options and associated costs will help you make an informed decision about the best way to access the mobile Internet in Thailand. Read on this guide because here we uncover 5 best ways to get data in Thailand for travelers and costs accordingly.

Mobile Internet in Thailand for travelers

I. Mobile Internet Coverage and Speed in Thailand

Thailand has 3 major mobile internet providers, which are: DTAC, AIS, and TrueMove H. All of them offer 2G, 3G, 4G networks. 

1. Thailand Mobile Internet Coverage

Here are coverage maps of top 3 mobile internet providers in Thailand.

Coverage map of DTAC in Thailand (source: nperf)
Coverage map of DTAC in Thailand (source: nperf)
Coverage map of AIS mobile - mobile internet in Thailand
Coverage map of AIS Mobile in Thailand (source: nperf)
Coverage map of TrueMove H in Thailand (source: nperf)
Coverage map of TrueMove H in Thailand (source: nperf)

Based on the images above, we have some insights for you to consider so you can make an informed decision on which cellular internet provider has the best coverage for your trip:

  • TrueMove H has the largest and most comprehensive 4G network footprint, covering nearly all of Thailand.
  • AIS and DTAC networks are also extensive nationwide but have slightly weaker rural and remote area coverage compared to TrueMove H.
  • All three operators have near-complete coverage of major cities and highways but signal strength may vary in remote rural locations.
  • TrueMove H generally has the strongest and most reliable coverage across Thailand, both in urban and rural areas.

2. Thailand Mobile Internet Speed

Mobile internet awards of Thai mobile network carriers - mobile internet in Thailand
Mobile internet awards of Thai mobile network carriers (source: Opensignal)

Thailand has excellent 4G/LTE and growing 5G coverage by the major carriers AIS, TrueMove H and DTAC.

Expect average 4G download speeds of 30-50 Mbps in cities, and 20-30 Mbps in rural areas. Speeds may be lower during peak hours.

Some highlights about mobile internet speed in Thailand are:

  • The top carrier for speed is AIS, with average speeds of 40-60 Mbps in cities. 
  • TrueMove H and DTAC are slightly lower at 30-50 Mbps.
  • Public WiFi is common in Bangkok and larger cities. Free WiFi may be slow, paid options offer consistent 30+ Mbps speeds.
  • Mobile data works well for navigation, messaging, social media and streaming SD videos. HD streaming may require WiFi for smooth playback.

In summary, choose AIS if you want to get the best experience in terms of coverage and speed. Choose DTAC if you want to save money while still gaining good experience overall. 

3. Is 5G available in Thailand?

Thailand was one of the first markets in Asia Pacific to launch 5G networks in early 2020.

Here is a table comparing the 5G networks of three major mobile operators in Thailand:

OperatorSpectrum HoldingsAverage 5G speeds (Q4 2021)5G Availability5G Coverage
AISLow, Mid, High bandsDownload: 289 MbpsUpload: 41 Mbps16%Stronger 5G signals across more regions of Thailand
TrueMove HMid, High bandsDownload: 218 MbpsUpload: 27 Mbps35%Wide coverage but weaker in some regions compared to AIS
DTACLow band onlyDownload: 36 MbpsUpload: 19 MbpsNot providedLimited due to lack of mid-band spectrum holdings

Key Points:

  • AIS leads in average 5G speeds due to a stronger spectrum portfolio including low, mid, and high bands.
  • TrueMove H has good speeds from mid and high bands but trails AIS.
  • DTAC has weakest speeds constrained to only low band spectrum.
  • TrueMove H leads in 5G availability but AIS has stronger signals across more areas.

II. Mobile Internet Rates in Thailand – Is It Expensive?

Mobile internet rates in Thailand

You need to know the Internet rates in Thailand so you will know how much to pay when traveling Thailand. 

Below are the rates of ways to get cellular internet in Thailand:

Option to get mobile dataInternet tariff in Thailand
SIM card Thailand 3GB used in 8 days for USD 19.14.
eSIM Thailand3GB used in 8 days for USD 19.
T-mobile carrier roamingUSD 15.00/MB
Vodafone carrier roamingUSD 6.81/megabyte used
Telstra carrier roamingUSD 3.00/MB
Pocket WiFiUSD 84 to USD 122 USD+ shipping fee (for 7 days)
Public WiFiFree

III. What are Connectivity Options for Tourists to Thailand?

Today, it is easy to get cellular internet access in Thailand. 

There are 05 connectivity options to get mobile data for tourists to Thailand. You can choose one of them which best aligns with your own needs. 

  • Prepaid Thailand SIM card 
  • Prepaid Thailand eSIM card
  • International roaming
  • Pocket Wifi
  • Free Wifi (not mobile data)

1. Prepaid International Data SIM card for Thailand – GREAT

When it comes to prepaid SIM cards for Thailand, there are local and international ones.

Local SIM cards for Thailand are popularly used by Thai citizens. If tourists want to get it, they need to present a passport or ID card for registration. That is not what many people want to do. 

International SIM cards for Thailand are exactly what most  tourists can afford and feel comfortable to go with. 

It is one of your best bets to stay connected to the Internet during your stay. Thailand SIM card is made to give users high-quality Internet. 

How much does it cost: 

  • 3G used in 8 days for USD 19.14
  • 4GB used in 12 days for USD 29.27

How to buy: There are several ways to buy an international SIM card for Thailand: 

  • Before departure, 
  • Online via online stores,
  • At the airport upon arrival in Thailand via local network carriers’ booths or convenience stores like 7-Eleven. , and
  • In Thai cities after arrival via physical stores of local network carriers slike AIS, TrueMobile H and DTAC. 

▶ Our recommendation: Of the four ways above, the option of buying online via online stores is the easiest. 

2. International Prepaid Data eSIM for Thailand – BEST

An International eSIM is a virtual SIM card embedded into the motherboard of a mobile device. You can activate a mobile data plan without swapping a physical SIM card. No matter where you are in the world, you can buy, activate your Thailand eSIM within a few minutes.

What is great about eSIM for Thailand:

  • Able to keep your primary phone number 
  • Simple and easy to set up
  • Have internet access upon arrival in Thailand airport
  • Recharge through top-ups

How much does it cost:

  • 3GB used in 8 days for USD 19
  • 6GB used in 16 days for USD 34

Where and how to buy prepaid international Thailand eSIM:

You can buy it either directly from local cellular network operators or from eSIM providers like Gigago. 

The earlier requires you to show a passport or ID card for verification. 

The latter does not require anything related to personal information. Just simply choose the eSIM Thailand plan that works best for you, make a purchase, get the QR code in the registered email, scan the QR code, turn on roaming, and you are ready to get Internet access as soon as your phone gets signals from Thai network operators.

3. International roaming with your home operator – MOST EXPENSIVE

This is an old-fashioned way to get Internet access while traveling and preferred by many travelers. The advantage of this option is that it is easy and convenient to use. But, the disadvantage is that it is quite expensive in comparison with other options.

How to get it: Just enable roaming on your existing SIM or contact your network operator to activate it. Alternatively, you can also buy roaming data passes from carriers.

How much does it cost: it costs about USD 15 / MB or USD 10 / day. 

Basically, roaming is expensive because you will be charged per the volume of data you use. (unit can be MB or GB). Thus, it is important for you to track your data usage. 

4. Pocket Wifi for Mobile Internet in Thailand – EXPENSIVE

A pocket Wifi allows you to share mobile internet with other devices. You can carry it everywhere. However, the cost for a pocket Wifi is not cheap. You will have to pay for the rental fee, the shipping fee, and the internet service fee, even insurance fee for the device. 

How to get it: rent the pocket wifi device from companies like Travelers Wifi, My Webspot, Cello Mobile, etc.

How much does it cost: here we give approx. price at the time of writing this article.

  • The rental fee for one week can be USD 73.4 (unlimited service)
  • The shipping fee probably ranges from USD 4.55 to USD 34.09 depending on the destination
  • The penalty fee if losing the device can be about USD 75.

5. Hotel/accommodation WiFi – FREE BUT UNSECURED

This is the cheapest way to get the Internet while traveling in Thailand. Most hotels and guesthouses offer free or paid WiFi for guests. With this option, speed and reliability varies – check reviews before relying on it completely. 

Besides, this is not a secure option after all.

Our recommendation: 

  • If your phone is of old models, choose an international data SIM card for getting data in Thailand because it offers widest coverage and stable internet speed during your trip. 
  • If your phone is equipped with eSIM function, go for a prepaid data eSIM Thailand because it has all features of a local SIM card but does not require SIM delivery and swapping for installation. 

IV. Gigago Thailand eSIM – Best Alternative to Get Mobile Internet for Thailand

Gigago Thailand eSIM - mobile internet in Thailand

Gigago eSIM is the provider that supplies eSIM for different countries and regions in the world, including Thailand. 

Gigago offers multiple data plan options for Thailand, starting from an 8-day plan with 15GB of data for $8.90 as their most minimal plan. They also have 8-day unlimited data, 10-day 50GB, 15-day unlimited data, and 30-day unlimited data plans ranging from 15GB to unlimited data, with prices from $8.90 up to $34.90.

Using Gigago eSIM for Thailand, not to mention its easiness of use, you can reap the following benefits: 

  • Wide range of data plan options to choose from
  • Competitive pricing
  • Local phone number included (varied by plan), so you can make calls/texts apart from using WhatsApp or other apps.
  • 24/7 multilingual support
  • Stable connection by using good data networks in Thailand 
  • No contracts or penalties

To see more details about eSIM Thailand, visit our Thailand eSIM plans

Important note: Before making a purchase of Thailand eSIM, make sure that your phone is unlocked and eSIM-equipped. Check if your phone is compatible with eSIM via our updated list of devices supporting eSIM.

 

V. FAQs

What mobile network bands are used in Thailand?

Most mobile networks in Thailand use 850MHz, 900MHz, 1800MHz, 2100MHz, 2300MHz and 2500MHz bands to transmit signals.

Which cellular internet companies are available in Thailand?

The major cellular internet companies (also the major mobile operators) currently in Thailand are DTAC, TrueMove H, and AIS.

What types of mobile networks are there in Thailand?

Thailand has 2G, 3G, 4G and 5G mobile networks that cover most of the country. 2G is for basic voice and text. 3G is for slower internet access. 4G is for high-speed wireless internet. 5G is the newest for fastest data speeds but still growing coverage. All major operators provide service on these mobile network generations