(Updated August 2016) Making international calls from Thailand is not expensive, thanks to some Tourist Special Thai Prepaid SIM Cards. However, if you do not wish to change your existing Thai SIM and would rather like another way to make very cheap international phone calls from Thailand, you need to buy yourself a calling card like Bolo Card or 'VIP Plus Card'. In this article you will first read about Bolo Card and later about its latest competitor 'VIP Plus Card'.
1. Bolo Card
This reliable calling card has been around in Thailand for several years now offering IDD/ISD calls from Thailand at rates as low as 0.65 Thai Baht Per Minute. On the face of a Bolo Card, the words "South Asian Calling Card" are rather misleading because this card can be used to call practically all major countries in the world including US/UK and African countries. No local call charges are to be paid while using Bolo Card because you just need to call a Bolo Card number and hang up after hearing the busy tone. They immediately call you back to connect you to the international number you wish to call. A PIN printed on the Bolo Card is required to authenticate your balance and then your call gets connected. You may even permanently register your Bolo Card PIN in their System that will link your SIM Card with that Bolo Card. Later you can use another Bolo Card to top-up your balance. If you do not wish to bind your Bolo Card with a particular SIM, just type the PIN every time, instead of registering it. Many restaurants across Thailand sell Bolo Card. In case of difficulty finding a Bolo Card, try an Indian restaurant. Bolo Card can also be purchased at Family Mart outlets and a few other stores. Later in this page, I have included a link to the store availability of Bolo Card. The Bolo Card numbers are printed at the back of the card and their separate numbers to call for English, Thai and Hindi (See pictures below). The price of a Bolo card starts at 100 THB. Keep reading...
|Thailand to World Calling Card - Bolo Card|
Prices and availability of Bolo Card in Thailand
Bolo Card is available in 100 THB, 300 THB and 500 THB versions and usually there is a discount on the selling price. For example, you can buy a 500 THB Bolo Card by paying 400 THB only and still get some talk time bonus over and above 500 THB. Home delivery of 500 THB Bolo Card is possible in Bangkok by calling their number 02-696-9574. Other denomination Bolo Cards need to be purchased at stores. Like I said earlier, try an Indian restaurant first and if you do not find it, call Bolo Card helpline 02-696-9588 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and ask them where you can find Bolo Card in your area.
How to use Bolo Card
|Thailand to World calling card - Bolo Card instructions|
Ring back Service
See instructions like in the picture above on the back of a Bolo Card. Use the Ring Back Service if you are using a mobile phone because that will save you local call charges. Call one of the ring-back numbers and hang up when you hear the busy tone. A few moments later, you will get a call back asking you to enter your PIN. If you have already registered your PIN with your mobile phone number, you will not need to enter your PIN. After verifying your PIN, Bolo Card will prompt you to enter your desired international phone number starting with the country code without any 00. Your ISD/IDD call will be connected.
If you do not want a call back or are using a fixed phone, call a Direct Call Bolo Number and when prompted, enter your PIN and thereafter your desired international phone number. In this case, you will be paying local call charges too.
Register PIN for PIN-less calling
The PIN registration number, something like 111# (see back of the card), needs to be called. After you validate your Bolo Card PIN, your phone is paired with that particular Bolo Card. Later, you may top-up your balance by pairing another Bolo Card. When you have paired a Bolo Card with your phone, you do not need to enter PIN while making a call.
Bolo Card International Call Rates
Indicative Bolo Card international call rates (THB Per Minute) for a few countries are as under. Actual rates may depend on the offers valid at the time of call:
Sri Lanka: 4.00
For a complete list of Bolo Card calling rates, please visit this link: http://www.bolocallingcard.com/index.php?page=rate
Bolo Roaming Service
This is not exactly a roaming service but a call forwarding service. If you have a Thai SIM to which a Bolo Card is attached (Pinless service), then you can use this service to forward all calls received on your Thai SIM to any mobile number in India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Pakistan.
How It Works
1. You need to have a minimum balance of 500 THB in your Bolo Card Pinless Account to use the service. Three packages are available for this service:
(i) 500 THB: 100 Minutes Valid For 7 Days
(ii) 1000 THB: 200 Minutes Valid For 14 Days
(iii) 1500 THB: 300 Minutes Valid For 30 Days
(The limit is on number of minutes and not on number of calls)
To use these respective packages, you will need to have at least an equal amount of balance in the Bolo Card Pinless Account at the time of activation.
2. From your Thai SIM to which Bolo Pinless is attached, call 02-696-9588 (this number may change in the future so at the time of calling, please see the customer service number printed on your bolo card). During the activation process, you will register your mobile number in India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka or Pakistan to which your calls are to be forwarded. Bolo Card Voice System or their customer service agent will give you a local Thai SIM number for further process.
3. While still in Thailand, use your phone settings and choose call forwarding (all calls) to the local Thai SIM number given to you by Bolo Voice System or their customer service person during the activation process.
4. For this call forwarding service, your own Thai SIM operator will charge at the rate of a local call as per your tariff plan. This charge is in addition to the Bolo Card Roaming charge.
5. Whenever someone calls you on your Thai SIM, the call gets forwarded to the local Thai SIM number that was given to you by Bolo card during activation process. After that Bolo's system forwards the call to your home number in your country.
Total Forwarding Cost Per Minute
Assuming your local Thai SIM operator is charging you 1.50 THB per minute for local forwarding, you will be paying a total of 6.50 THB per minute for the call forwarding to your home country (1.50 THB + 5.00 THB).
Where to Buy Bolo Card
Bolo Card can be purchased at South Asian restaurants in Thailand (particularly Indian restaurants), Family Mart outlets, and at several other stores listed in this page: http://www.bolocallingcard.com/index.php?page=store
2. VIP Plus Card
|VIP Plus Calling Card Thailand|
VIP Plus Card is very similar to Bolo Card in terms of pricing and service with a few minor differences. I came across VIP Plus Card in Pattaya in December 2015 and have used it without any problem. Now that you are familiar with the working of the Bolo Card, I will be able to quickly cover the specifics of VIP Plus Card.
How VIP Plus Card Differs From Bolo Card
One important aspect in which VIP Plus Card differs with Bolo Card is the ability to use the card with multiple SIM cards. Bolo Card gives you two options: One - the option of linking Bolo Card with a SIM Card to enable PIN-less dialing, i.e. once you have linked a Bolo Card with a SIM card, you do not need to dial the Bolo PIN every time you wish to make an international call. And this linking binds the calling card to that particular SIM card rendering it useless for any other SIM. For this very purpose, Bolo Card also has the second option of dialing the PIN number for every call without linking it with a particular SIM. That way, you can use a Bolo Card for making international calls from any SIM card and even if your SIM card validity is lost, you will be able to continue using a Bolo card by purchasing another SIM.
VIP Plus Card that I purchased, on the other hand, automatically linked itself with my SIM card after I used it for the first time. Now I do not have to enter the VIP Plus Card PIN number every time, but once the validity of my SIM card is over, the VIP Plus Card will also become useless even if I have some balance left in it. Let me repeat: VIP Plus Card did not give me any option to use it with multiple SIM cards and this is a disadvantage.
Advantage of VIP Plus Card over Bolo Card
VIP Plus Card has a specific advantage over Bolo. That is, it allows you to make direct international calls without paying for local call charges if you are using the SIM card of AIS or DTAC. To use this direct call without paying local call charges you need to dial a code given below:
*7505082 + Country Code + Area Code + Phone Number + Green Dial Key
In case your VIP Plus Card does not automatically register for PIN-less service and you are using AIS / DTAC service, to register your VIP Card for PIN-less service, you need to dial the following code:
*7505083 + PIN Number + Green Dial Key
VIP Plus Card Free Call Back Service
|VIP Plus Calling Card Thailand Features|
If you are using a True Move SIM, use the free call back service by dialing 026277430 and disconnect after you hear the busy tone. After a few moments you will get a call back that will prompt you to dial the desired number or top up your VIP Plus Card. If you wish to make an international card, dial like this:
Country Code (without 00) + Area Code + Phone Number. No need to press the green dial key.
For example, to call a mobile phone in India, dial 91 + xxxxx xxxxx and to dial a land line phone in Mumbai, India, dial 91 + 22 + Phone Number. No need to press the green dial key.
Price and Call Charges of VIP Plus Card
I could only purchase a VIP Plus card of 100 THB denomination that promised calling credit of 100+25(free) THB. Call charges for India were not declared on the card but it is less than one THB per minute. Rates for other countries are not declared anywhere and I am not sure if VIP Plus Card can be used for calling countries other than India. VIP Plus Card has an expiry date printed on the reverse. The card expires on that date or 365 days after the first use, whichever comes first.
Call Quality of VIP Plus Card
VIP Plus Card worked just like Bolo Card but its response time when using on a 4G network was a bit slow. It worked faster on a 2G/3G network.
Where To Buy VIP Plus Card
I went to an Indian restaurant on Second Road Pattaya looking for Bolo Card and they sold me this VIP Plus Card instead. I bought it because it was something new and looked alright for my purpose. I am not sure how many shops sell this card and as such there is no need to go looking for this card only. One can use a Bolo Card or a VIP Plus Card if the desired country to be called is India. However, if you wish to call some other countries, stick to Bolo Card only because the usability of VIP Plus Card for countries other than India is not yet clear.
VIP Plus Card Helpline Number
VIP Plus Card has a helpline number on it that I have not tried. It is 026969597. May be one will be able to get some information from this number. I hope they speak English.
Of course you will need a Thai SIM card to use any of these two calling cards. If you are looking for a local Thai SIM card, try DTAC Happy Tourist SIM. While you buy your local SIM card in Thailand, try and avoid this Thailand SIM Card Scam. Enjoy your holiday.
|Posted by Narinder Singh|