You’ll need to provide a face-scan or fingerprints to buy SIM cards in Thailand starting December 15, 2017. (We will still have some prepaid SIMs to send clients so that they’re able to call as soon as they get off the plane but, as soon as our stock runs down, you’ll be on your own). Here’s what to do when you get off the plane in Bangkok:
- Get a Thai prepaid SIM card installed at BKK airport when you arrive, before you get your connecting flight, if possible.
- The cel providers’ kiosks are just outside the International gates (where drivers hold up signs) after you exit customs.
- There are kiosks for the main mobile operators: DTAC (Blue), AIS (Green) and True Move (Red). I recommend AIS or True.
- The staff will install and test your SIM for you.
- Ask them for some tape and stick your old SIM on the inside your wallet in case you need it when you return home.
- If you don’t get a SIM, you can use the wifi in the CM terminal to call or email your local contact.
We’re entering the digital age and our money now is linked to mobile services and the Kingdom is cracking down on electronic fraud and encouraging mobile banking. The lack of regulation in Thailand’s SIM card market was highlighted in June when police arrested three Chinese men who had managed to buy nearly 400,000 Thai SIM cards for a “click farm” operation. The trio told officers they were hired to boost “likes” for products through hundreds of smartphones they had hooked up to a computer. Takorn Tantasith explained why: “Some people used fake ID to register their SIM cards, which created a problem”. Thailand launched a pilot scheme in June in its insurgency-torn ‘Deep South’, where ethnic Malay rebels have used mobile phones to trigger bombs. “After a trial in the most worried areas of the country, people liked it, especially the security officials“.