City officials estimate 1.4 million people currently use public WiFi, both paid and free. CAT Telecom built a fiber optic network for Pattaya and TOT currently provides WiFi along the city’s beaches at a speed of 256 kilobits per second.
Mayor Itthiphol Kunplome (left) and Charoen Limkangwanmongkol (right) sign a contract for free WiFi in Pattaya.
The True service will run eight times faster, offering theoretical top speeds of 2 megabits per second. Users will be allowed to use a maximum five hours a month. Thus, the service is aimed mostly at tourists, who average about 30 minutes of Internet use a day for their several days in the city.
True operates the largest WiFi network in Thailand, holding 60 percent of the market for public hotspots. The Pattaya network is part of a 1 billion baht expansion in Chonburi. City hall will pay 10 million baht for the service, with True subsidizing the rest.
Users must register for the free Pattaya WiFi and must renew every three months. Thais must use their identification card while foreigners will register with their passport using a link on the @TrueWifi network login page.