5G Data for scooter maps and coastal sailing in Phuket, Thailand 8USD/mo

AIS 5G coverage and costs

I heard from locals that AIS had the best 5G coverage. While I can’t compare other networks the coverage seems to be good so far…

If like me you are constantly scanning for WIFI and aren’t looking to watch YouTube or make video calls and use mobile data only for messaging and maps then the AIS 315Baht Pre-Pay 30GB – 1GB/day for 30 days package is probably good enough.

Coverage offshore is alright. A few miles off shore on the Malacca Straight I had 3G signal down to Langkawi.

Check the detailed coverage map here.

I picked up a prepaid tourist sim at the airport when I first arrived. Since then I have topped up with pre-paid top up and roaming top-up.

I’m spending around 8 Euros / 6GBP a month on data with 1GB of data per 24h which continues to work at 128mbps once that GB has been burned, until midnight when it resets back to 1GB.

Saving Data

On wifi I downloaded offline maps for most of Phuket for when the data runs out, and pre-download most destinations.


How to Top up AIS Online

This guide assumes you chose the 5G package discussed above and have no balance.

Topping Up AIS is a challenge with an absolutely horrible UX on both the website and app (Android iOS) which are both littered with confusing incorrect error messages and repeated OTP verification requests even if you are logged in. Set aside about 10 minutes for headache inducing tech fight. I spent almost 2 hours of trial and error to work out the following!

1. Work out which package you want…

I use Pre-Paid

Package > Prepaid > On Top Package > Internet > 5G internet > One Time > 30 Days > 5G 30 GB.

So you’ll get 1GB every day for 30 days. You will get an SMS warning when 500Mb has been used which is handy.

DO NOT try and select this package now otherwise you will get a confusing error… (Keep the tab open though).

This phone number is not eligible to use this service
This phone number does not support 5G service. Please enter a different phone number and try again”

This is incorrect, in reality you just need to add account balance. The next step…

Avoid using the number to call to activate

Calling the number *777*7522# doesn’t work from abroad Don’t bother with this, even when topped up. It probably didn’t work in Thailand either, I think I airbrushed that frustration out of my memory.


2. Top Up Pre-paid

To top up your account / phone number with balance with Visa / mastercard etc go to…

Package > Prepaid > Online Top Up

(for LINE Pay use the app Android iOS)

Remember the price was 315 Baht, so you need to top up with 400 Baht.

Destination number – this is your number.

You format the number correctly, if your number is 9 integers like 9889-123-12 you need to add a 0 at the start, and don’t use the country code otherwise you will get an error “Sorry, the service is unavailable at the moment.” It is available you just need to format the number correctly. Eg.

0-9889-123-12

Enter your card details, this may work without any 3D Secure or security approval from your banking app. You should receive an SMS confirming the top up.

I wasn’t asked for an OTP before this step.


3. Return to the package tab and purchase

Go back to the package tab and now click “select”.

On the checkout page enter your number again and wait for the OTP.

After this you should now have the package applied within a minute.

Congratulations, you have data!


Is there any point singing up and logging in?

Already an existing member? Login to make it easier for you to choose your phone number

I found that I still had to enter the OTP every time and the system doesn’t seem to remember my number or give me a dropdown to select it when applying packages so theres literally no point in signing up.


Using AIS abroad. Roaming.

Note that OTP’s take around 4 mins to come through so don’t request another if it seems like its not arrived.

I used this successfully in the London, Kuala Lumpur and Barcelona with decent 30mbps speeds.


The rest of this is just needlessly moaning about the app…

This isn’t constructive being an app designer it feels good to critique the work of others and reflect on how the world can be made a better place through quality design.

That was rewritten to have a more positive tone.

The app or website experience technical problems intermittently. I was at one point encouraged by the website to download the app and scan a QR to pick up the package purchase on the app because the website didn’t work, but the app is riddled with bugs as well, or at least that version was.

The latest app is bloated at 200Mb, a real challenge to navigate and more difficult to use than the website. Finding packages requires filtering and scrolling, trying to remember which package etc. A lot of views where you would expect to see information have written instructions telling you to go to other bits of the app which are hard to find or don’t work.

Profile > history

Never seems to show historic transactions I definitely made… today.

Top Up

The UI says “track your top-up history by visiting the Package menu” and choosing “Usage detail”. This will require another OTP to be sent despite having an account and being logged in. Urghhh.

Profile > Payment and Top Up > Payment Methods

Ticking “Save this card for future transaction” on the website checkout doesn’t seem to actually work, or at least your card won’t be shown in the app.

Home > Profile > Usage and Package

Will occasionally show “error” – Try again button doesn’t work, close the app and re-open if this happens.

How to see which package you have

Home > Profile > View Package

I have been unable to find any history of previous packages bought before the current one.