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Roaming in Thailand: Rates and how to avoid it

If you decide to travel to Thailand and want to know how the roaming works there, here's the most complete guide you will need!

Julio Osuna

June 13, 2024

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If you are planning to use international roaming while in Thailand, chances are you need to know what options are available and how much it costs. While traveling abroad is a great adventure, it’s better to stay online with the best option available!

That’s why we will tell you everything about roaming Thailand and the different alternatives for travelers to use.

eSIM for Thailand

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What is a roaming service?

One of the most famous alternatives available for people to use when traveling is roaming. It has become one of the most common alternatives for travelers to stay connected to mobile internet, and it doesn’t matter where they go. In most cases, this is the service that’s very easy to get, no matter the location.

But we want to look into the nitty-gritty about this service that not everyone may know about. For example, the roaming Thailand service can be pretty expensive, but that’s not common knowledge. And this might even vary from one location to the other!

people walking in a beach in thailand
People walking a round a beach in Thailand. Source: Pexels.

What makes this service easy to use is that domestic cellular carriers offer customers the option to continue using their home cellular plans, including talk time, text messages, and data with local services. 

Prices might vary depending on the customer’s consumption, but in most cases, cellular data is the most requested service. Prices for cellular data can vary from $1 to $15 per consumed MB. But let’s take a more in-depth look at these rates!

Comparison of roaming rates in Thailand

Looking online on your own and trying to gather all the information to compare benefits, rates, and fees may be very inconvenient for some people. So, we decided to make things easier for everyone, and we even set up a comparison chart of the different services available for use in Thailand to get a data roaming service. So, let’s see what each one of these providers offers to consumers!

Cellular provider – RateCost (in US dollars/MB)
Holafly eSIM cardStarting at $6 per day
Vodafone$6 per day
Three$5 per day
Rogers$15/10MB or $15 with Roam Like Home

Comparative chart of roaming rates in Thailand by the cellular provider and Holafly data eSIM.

What makes it so attractive, for lack of a better word, is the number of alternatives available for travelers to use. So, it’s best that we explain how each one of these works and what they offer to keep your mobile device online.

Roaming in Thailand by Mobile Provider

Before talking about other alternatives regarding roaming services in Thailand, it is better for those interested to know how much it costs according to the cellular provider they have. So, let’s take a look at further details about the different options that travelers have to use.

Roaming in Thailand with AT&T

AT&T has different ways for people to use their service while traveling. The best option is to use the pay-per-use service, so let’s see how much it costs!

  • Calls: $3 per minute.
  • Send texts: $0.50/message
  • Send pictures and videos: $1.30/message
  • Internet: $2.05
at&t logo
AT&T logo. Source: AT&T.

How to activate it

AT&T is one of the carrier’s two different options for customers to activate their roaming service. One of those alternatives is by calling directly. Customers only need to dial 611 and activate the service to stay connected in Thailand.

The other option is to call the AT&T International Customer Service direct line. For both cases, users also need to activate the roaming option on their mobile/cellular data menu settings.

Buy your virtual chip or a Holafly eSIM Thailand and enjoy your unlimited data.

Roaming in Thailand with T-Mobile

T-Mobile is a bit different in regards to what they offer. Using roaming in Thailand is only available with certain plans, and people can use up to 5 GB of cellular data while traveling. Let’s see the rates they offer.

  • Calls made: $0.25/min.
  • SMS: $0.50 per text.
  • Internet: $60-85/data plan.
T-Mobile USA
T-Mobile logo. Source: T-Mobile.

How to activate it

For people to use the T-Mobile service, they need to dial #RON# and wait a few seconds for the roaming service to be activated. After that, it is necessary for people to activate the roaming service on their devices manually.

Roaming in Thailand with Verizon

Compared to other alternatives, Verizon has very simple options to get or activate their roaming services for Thailand, for their customers.

  • Calls made: $1.79/minute
  • SMS: $0.50.
  • Internet: $2.05/MB.
Verizon SIM card USA
Verizon logo. Source: Verizon.

How to activate it

Verizon also keeps the activation process quite simple. Customers only need to activate the “Roaming” option on their devices, and the service will be ready to be used. Easy-peasy.

Roaming in Thailand with Vodafone

Vodafone lets their users consume their roaming service in different areas. Thailand, in this particular case, is located in Zone D of the roaming service of Vodafone, which gives it a price of $6 per day when using this company.

vodafone logo
Vodafone logo. Source: Vodafone.

How to activate it

To activate the data roaming service in Thailand using Vodafone, there are two things to do. First, people will need the “My Vodafone” app to get to the “International Roaming” option. Once there, users simply need to choose their destination and enjoy!

Roaming in Thailand with Three

In case you are a Three user, there’s no need to worry. Even though they offer their roaming service in way fewer destinations than other providers, Thailand is a country where they offer their roaming services. In this case, customers can purchase this service for only $5 per day!

three uk logo
Three logo. Source: Three.

How to activate it

As soon as people reach the coverage area of their destination, they’ll have their roaming services activated right away!

Roaming in Thailand with Rogers

Lastly, we have Rogers as an alternative for those interested when traveling. Compared to the rest, they have the highest roaming rates available in the market. 

  • Call: $3 per minute
  • Text: $0.75 per text
  • Data: $15 per 10 MB or $15 per day with “Roam Like Home.”
rogers logo
Rogers logo. Source: Rogers.

How to activate it

For Rogers, people need to activate the “Roaming” option on their device settings on the “Mobile/Cellular Data” menu. Once this is done, people will be able to use everything this provider has to offer them.

Alternatives to roaming in Thailand

Now that we are done talking about the roaming services available to use in Thailand, it’s time to move a step forward and talk about other alternatives available for those who are traveling there.

So far, it is fair to mention the roaming services are quite expensive. There’s no doubt about this. But what’s good about the alternatives on our list below is the prices and rates they have, given that they are cheaper compared to the roaming in Thailand service.

eSIM for Thailand

eSIM with unlimited data for Thailand
Unlimited data eSIM for Thailand from Holafly.

Our first alternative, and the one that has become more common among young travelers, is eSIMs. These have become an easier alternative for travelers who prefer saving some money and who just want to make life easier for themselves, avoiding any complications with their domestic provider or fiddling with their device settings to get eSIM data plans.

Companies like Holafly offer travelers the chance to use their eSIMs in more than 190 different destinations! Of course, in this case, eSIM Thailand is included on the list of countries available for those who want to use Holafly when traveling there!

Among the benefits you get with these eSIMs are:

  • Unlimited data packages.
  • 500 MB daily for data sharing.
  • Customizable plans.
  • Top-ups.
  • iOS and Android compatible App.

Prepaid SIM card

Another alternative, that’s pretty similar to eSIMs, is prepaid SIM cards. These were a thing before and are still a thing nowadays, but due to how technology is rapidly moving forward, it has fallen behind the eSIM. For old device users, this is the best alternative for them to use when traveling abroad rather than other services.

Some people can even try to use a local cellular provider to access a local network. The thing is, it might be difficult for people to actually get a SIM or eSIM with a local carrier, but it is not impossible.

Free WiFi in Thailand

When traveling, some may come across free WiFi hotspots in different places. The more famous the country is, and the more tourists visit it, the more places with free WiFi there will be.

The only downside, or the main downside, is that these free hotspots aren’t always available. There may be free WiFi in a hotel, a restaurant, or similar places, but once people leave, the connection will be gone.

Also, it is important to remember these aren’t secure connections. Therefore, try to use them only for what you need without providing any personal information and specially no sensitive information.

Free WiFi in Thailand: Alternatives

In case you decide to go ahead and use a free WiFi connection, you might want to try some apps that will assist you in finding a reliable hotspot. There are some apps available, and that’s something great to know.

For example, apps like WinMap or WiFi Finder are the best options for travelers in this case. Try to download it before traveling and check available hotspots around. Try to take advantage of this option to avoid roaming services in Thailand service.

Pocket WiFi in Thailand

The last alternative for us to mention is related to pocket WiFi devices. There’s no doubt these are a suitable option for those who prefer to go the “old-fashioned way”. It is one method that was famous a long time ago, but it’s still famous now.

These are easy to rent but can be somehow expensive for travelers. Therefore, let’s talk a bit about some options available.

Pocket WiFi in Thailand: Alternatives

The thing with pocket WiFi devices is the price, so let’s see what offers are available in the market.

  • Cello Mobile: For people living in the United States, Mexico, or even Canada, this is a great alternative. They charge users a fixed rate of $104 for a week to use one of their devices in most destinations. There’s also an extra charge for insurance and delivery service to different countries.
  • Travelers WiFi: Travelers WiFi offers people two different rates. For Thailand, it costs around $79 for a whole week of consumption. The insurance here is not mandatory, but the shipping fee must be paid. It is also a worldwide option available for all types of users.

Comparison of alternatives to roaming in Thailand

Let’s give a comparison of the different alternatives available here for people to use when traveling. 

FeatureseSIMRoamingPocket WiFi
PriceStart at $6$2.05 up to $15 per MB+$120
DataUnlimited Data1GB per day
Free shippingYesNo
Added costsNoYesYes
Can you share the internet with other devices?YesNoYes
Fee in case of loss?NoNoYes
User friendly?YesNoNo
Comparative chart – Alternatives to getting internet in Thailand

Verdict: the best alternative to roaming in Thailand

Time to give people what we consider the best option to remain connected when it comes to traveling. So far, we’re pretty confident that most of our readers already know which is the best option to connect while traveling and which has the cheapest prices. The eSIM has a clear advantage over the different alternatives available for travelers to use abroad.

Of course, there’s no doubt people can choose the one they prefer, but it is fair to mention which is the best alternative for us. Due to the prices, and how easy it is to get one and what’s more, the eSIM comes first when compared to other providers.

So, if you are wondering which one to use, the Holafly Thailand eSIM should be the first option that comes to your mind when visiting the country.

Tips for roaming in Thailand

  • When traveling, try to avoid using the roaming service more than you should. It can cost you a lot more if you always keep it activated and are browsing through things that consume a lot of cellular data.
  • When you decide which alternative you will use to stay connected when traveling abroad, keep in mind you should keep an eye on how much data you are consuming.
  • Some providers tend to give customers promotions and offers when traveling. Before you head off to a new destination, check out whether there are some offers to take advantage of!
  • Some phones or devices might not work abroad. Make sure you check whether the network bands in the country you are visiting are compatible with your device, and remember that when traveling, an open-band device is the best alternative!
  • Using WiFi is a good idea when traveling. It can help to save some money, just don’t become too dependent on it.

Up to this point, readers can make a final decision and make a list of what things to do in Thailand. There are some explained topics and recommendations to check out and keep in mind, which will help them on future trips, and that’s what gives it an added value. So, we hope you make a wise choice!