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Thailand communications





he telephone system in Thailand is operated by the government-subsidised, privately owned Telephone Organisation of Thailand (TOT)
under the Communications Authority of Thailand (CAT). It is efficient if costly, and from Bangkok you can direct dial most major centres with little difficulty. The telephone country code for Thailand is +66. Thailand no longer uses separate area codes for Bangkok and the provinces, so all phone numbers in the country use eight digits (preceded by a +0 if you’re dialling domestically). When dialling Thailand from outside the country, you must first dial whatever international access code is necessary (eg from the USA dial +011 first for all international calls), followed by +66 and then the phone number in Thailand.

Country code: 66.
Main lines in use: 9.1 million (2007)
Mobile cellular: 74.5 million (2009)
Fixed Line Operators: TOT, True Corporation and TT&T
Mobile Operators (largest first): AIS, DTAC, True Move (formerly: Orange), Hutch, CAT CDMA, TOT Thai Mobile 1900

Pay Phones & Phonecards
Basically there are two kinds of coin-operated public pay phones in Thailand: ‘red’ (local city calls) and ‘blue’ (both local and long-distance calls within Thailand). Then there are the phonecard phone booths that accept only certain kinds of card: ‘green’ takes domestic TOT phonecards, ‘yellow’ takes Lenso international phonecards and most major credit cards. Local calls from pay phones cost 1B for 164 seconds (add more coins for more time). Long-distance rates within the country vary from 3B to 12B per minute, depending on the distance. Rates for international calls using phonecards are usually around 7B per minute and can be bought from 7-Elevens in varying denominations (300B to 500B). A CAT-issued, prepaid international phonecard, called ThaiCard, comes in 300B and 500B denominations and allows calls to many countries at standard CAT rates. You can use the Thai- Card codes from either end, for example calling the UK from Thailand or calling Thailand from the UK.

International Calls
If you want to direct-dial an international number from a private telephone, just dial +001 before the number. Dial +100 for operator-assisted international calls. In addition to the standard direct-dial access number, telephone providers also have various connection prefixes with variable but cheaper calling rates. These include +007, 008 and 009.
A service called Home Country Direct is available at Bangkok’s main post office. Home Country Direct phones offer easy one-button connection to international operators in 40-odd countries around the world. Hotels usually add surcharges (sometimes as much as 50% over and above the CAT rate) for international long-distance calls. Private long-distance phone offices with international service always charge more than the government offices, although they are usually lower than hotel rates. Some guesthouses will have a mobile phone or landline that customers can use for a per-minute fee. The Communications Authority of Thailand (CAT) does not offer long-distance
services to Malaysia or Laos. To call these countries you must go through TOT. For Laos, you can direct-dial +007 and country code
856, followed by the area code and number you want to reach. Malaysia can be dialled direct by prefixing the Malaysian number (including area code) with the code +09.

You’ll find plenty of internet cafés in most larger towns and cities, and in many guesthouses and hotels as well. The going rate is anywhere from 30B to 80B an hour. Bangkok typically has fast connections and new machines, while the provinces are a little bit behind. Wi-fi is available in some upscale hotels but the daily charge is usually around 500B to 600B. Most hotels use RJ11 phone jacks, though in older hotels and guesthouses the phones may still be hard-wired. In the latter case you may be able to use a fax line in the hotel or guesthouse office, since all fax machines in Thailand are connected via RJ11 jacks.

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