Phone and Fax in Thailand
By and large the Thai phone system works well. Coin pay phones are straight forward enough and generally come into varieties: red or pale blue for local calls, blue or stainless steel for local or long-distance calls within Thailand. Red and pale blue phones take the small 1 baht coins and will give you about 3 minutes per 1 baht,while blue and stainless steel ones gobble up 1 baht, 5 baht and 10 baht coins (inter-provincial rates vary between 3 baht and 12 baht/minute/distance, and work out to be surprisingly pricey).
You may well be better of buying a TOT phone card for domestic calls; this come with a PIN number and available in a range of denominations from 25 baht to 240 baht from hotels and a wide variety of shops: it can be used in designated orange card phones or in stainless steel pay phones. In some provincial towns, enterprising mobile-phone owners hang out on the main streets, often with a simple fold out table and makeshift cardboard sign, offering cheap long-distance, and sometime international calls.
When dialing any number in Thailand, you must now preface it with what used to be the area code, even dialing from the same area. Anything that's prefaced with a +081, +082, +083, +084, +085, +086, +087,+088 and +089 is a mobile phone.
An increasing number of tourists can take their mobile phones to Thailand. Visitors from the US many well need to have a dual or tri-band phone, but GSM 900Hz and 1800Hz, the systems most commonly found in other parts of the world, are both available in Thailand; for a full list of network types and providers in Thailand, to go www.teletechnics.com/reference/telecom/cellular.html. Not for foreign networks, so check with your phone provider before you travel whether roaming is available. It's also worth checking how much coverage there is for your network within Thailand, and asking in advance for a summary of rates for incoming as well as outgoing calls while you're there; some networks offer flat-rate deals on international usage, which can save you a lot money. For future information about using your phone abroad, check it out www.telecomsadvice.org.uk/features/using_your_mobile_abroad.htm.
If you want to use your mobile phone a lot in Thailand, it may well be worth getting hold of a rechargeable Thai SIM Card with a local phone number. An AIS 1-2-Call card (www.ais900.com or www.one-2-call.com) will give you the widest coverage in Thailand, and top-up cards are available at 7-11 stores across the country. Their call rates aren't the cheapest, however, at 6-10 baht per minuted within Thailand; international rates are around 20 baht per minute, while texts cost 3 baht domestic, 10 baht international. Your own network operator may be able to give you useful advice about exchanging SIM cards before you leave home, but the best place in Thailand to buy a card and have any necessary technical adjustments made is the MBK (Mah Boon Krong Centre in Bangkok), an AIS 1-2-Call SIM card, for example, will cost you around 99-300 baht, including your first credit balance of calls.
Most major post offices offer a domestic and international Fax service-currently around 75 baht per page to Australia , North America or the UK. Private phone centres will also send faxes for you, as well most guest houses, for which you can expect to pay up to 50% more than government rates.