Thailand and Apple musings…

I am sitting in the newly remodeled Don Muang airport and using an unlimited WIFI pack. Which I bought for 39 baht to get unmetered WIFI till midnight. For all of you penny pinchers out there – that is like 1.12 USD. Pretty decent in my opinion. I have been using 4g for the past week for 99 baht. Been getting good speeds but that has 2GB cap for 7 days of usage. That’s 2.84 USD. For a whole week of 4g but of course I used it up and added 400 MB for 15 baht. That’s .43 USD. 

Crazy the competition in wireless data and how easy it is to get it and top it up.

This week I paid for our truck insurance but this was after realizing that we don’t have the bill for it. So my wife called the insurance company who then sent her 1 SMS with a number in it we took to 7/11. Paid the bill and the 15 baht convienence fee for paying at the ATM. The services one can pay for at 7/11 or other convienence stores is cool.

It is always interesting to me the fintech stuff that pops up in rural Thialand when credit cards are not the thing and cash is king. Not sure if this type of stuff will flourish more or if credit cards start to take over but given the way my wife’s parents bank, they will never get a credit card so these cash delivery systems are key for them.

As a side note this is what is always bugging me about Apple. In the rural parts of Thailand you just don’t see a lot of iPhones except for the wealthy or the aspiring wealthy or hip teenagers who want to show off. I think in all the emerging markets this same phenomenon exists in that outside of the cities you see way more android than iOS phones. I personally have never thought this was only about the price of the handset but it is more about the ecosystem that Apple has created which is basically a wall that only people with credit cards can climb over. Apple continues to power the App Store and Apple services with credit cards where Android, who pushes Google pay, but allows app developers to integrate lots of local payment methods is flourishing. Apple really should do telco integrations or work with wallets that are not card based to get something going before it is too late.

When I was a resident of Thailand, it was always uniquely frustrating place as an expat trying to make it but when I visit I tend to look at things with another lens and I am impressed with the infrastructure growth, the mobile connectivity and the startup mantra that is slowly permeating the place. Maybe some day even politics will get changed but that is not a subject for this blog.

At the airport now they have a sign for a co-working space which I find odd to be located here but who knows. Is it peak co-working spaces in SEA yet?

For the time being I will have some overpriced airport coffee but enjoy my all day 39 baht WIFI.

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