Convenience takes a big leap forward
By Paisal Chuenprasaeng
With Line Mobile – now in beta testing – you can use your phone to pay bills, adjust your data speed and modify subscriptions without having to physically go to a shop.
The digital service, which I got to try out and found to be very fast and convenient, uses the Line Mobile app and is available for both Android and iOS devices.
The service arose from a survey of mobilephone users. Most expressed frustration about having to queue up in shops to pay monthly bills and get other kinds of service.
They also complained that monthly plans for phone use and the contracts that bound them to a service for months were too complicated.
So Line Mobile is designed to let users take care of business using only the app under a monthly plan that’s transparent, flexible and has no time-stamped contractual obligations.
People invited to participate in the beta testing didn’t even have to go out and buy the required SIM card. We got an email link to the server to buy the card and received it by courier.
Subscribers can also choose their own phone number by keying in the digits they like and don’t like. If the number’s available, it’s yours.
The price plan comes down to “what you see is what you get”, the Line Mobile team says. There are no hidden costs. (Full disclosure: We beta users scored a 75-per-cent discount through December.)
Like shopping for clothes, you pick the price plan by “size”. XS costs Bt69, S Bt99, M Bt119, L Bt169, XL Bt219, and XXL Bt269. The cheapest plan covers 1.5GB of full-speed Internet data use and 100 minutes of call time, while XXL is 40GB and 600 minutes.
Even when you’ve used up all your call time, you can continue making calls for just Bt0.99 per minute. And after you’ve chewed through your online quota, you still have free, unlimited normal-speed data at 256Kbps. Or you can top up full-speed access for Bt24 per gigabyte during the beta period and Bt120 thereafter.
I found the free speed (256Kbps) fast enough to check mail, browse the Web and watching YouTube videos at a resolution suitable for a mobile phone.
Best of all, the app lets you conveniently switch between full-speed data connection and the free 256Kbps speed, conserving your allotment when traffic is heavier for later use, such as uploading high-resolution photos and videos.
Users of Line Messenger are able to freely use Line Calls and Video Chat without worrying about their data quota, and the folks at Line tell me there may be more such perks coming for users of Line Mobile.
The app has two main sections – Dashboard and Control – and a Profile button at the top left. Tap Profile and you see your name and phone number as registered and buttons to access Billing, Packages, Topping and International Services.
Billing is for checking expenditures and paying the bill (via credit card, Rabbit Card or Line Pay, with more options in the works).
In Packages, you can switch to a different pricing plan. Topping, obviously, is for buying more time on the Net.
International Services is great for travellers, who can use it to activate a roaming service wherever they are and check roaming rates among available partners and fees for making international calls.
In the beta stage, calls abroad from Thailand are quite cheap. You could call a fixed line in Japan for Bt5 per minute or a mobile phone there for Bt6. Calling either one in South Korea is about Bt4 per minute.
International Services is disabled by default. You have to let Line Mobile know you want to use it, either through the call centre or Chat.
The Dashboard is as straightforward as can be. It shows your outstanding balance, which renders full details at a tap, and the number of minutes in your pricing plan and how many are left. Tap that to see a call history.
The Dashboard also has your full-speed data and what remains in your quota, again with full history available for scrutiny.
At the bottom of the Dashboard are your current package detail and the price. Tap this to change the package anytime, though the change takes effect the following month. Before that happens, you can change your mind and cancel or choose another package. The team is looking at ways to make the change take effect more quickly.
The Control tab has two toggles. Pick “Data” to switch between full-speed and free. Pick “Out-of-Plan Charges” to avoid any billing shocks and automatically stop uses that will incur charges beyond your monthly limit.
Line Mobile has good sound quality for voice calls and the data connection is fast, letting me download other apps and back up photos to cloud storage quickly.
The Ookla Speedtest app measured the download speed at 97.67Mbps and uploads at 43.32Mbps on a Samsung Galaxy S8+.
The Line Mobile team is collecting input from beta testers and plans to adjust pricing plans accordingly when the service is publicly released. Although it is currently linked to the Dtac network, other providers are welcome to become partners.
While the service remains in beta trials, details about the service provider are being withheld – but the name and availability of Line perks offers a big enough hint of who’s behind it.
LINE MOBILE KEY FACTS
– Website: th.LineMobile.com
– Current pricing plans: XS, S, M, L, XL, XXL
– Full-speed data: 4G
– Free data speed: 256 Kbps
– Service management and control: Line Mobile app (iOS, Android)
– Customer support channels: Live Chat, Line Mobile official account, FAQ, email, call centre
– 75%-discount promotion period for beta users: Ends December 31
Republished with permission from The Nation