ThimphuTech was the first technology blog in Bhutan. We started writing it in 2009, just as broadband and mobile internet started to take off. (Although internet in Bhutan was launched in 1999, it was either super-slow or super-expensive, and was only used by a selected few).

In the blog, we wrote about technology and food, but also about plenty of other stuff. The blog became popular and influential in Bhutan. A companion bi-weekly column -- Ask Boaz -- was published for many years in the Kuensel, Bhutan's national newspaper. (The complete Kuensel columns are available as an ebook, Blogging with Dragons).

We stopped updating the blog when we left Bhutan in 2014, but the information within the posts can still prove useful, and thus we decided to keep it online.

We thank all our readers.
Tashi Delek,
Boaz & Galit.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Choosing a Mobile Internet Package (K2 #42)

Question of the Week 
I saw a notification from B-Mobile about their new mobile Internet packages.
Which package do you recommend?
-- “Surfer”, P/ling

Dear Phuentsholing “Surfer”,

Thanks for your question! With more and more subscribers in Bhutan using data cards to access the Internet, this is an issue that affects many. Starting August 2012, B-Mobile will avail three mobile data packages: “Pay-as-you-go”, “99”, and “999”. Take a look at the comparison table. In addition to the package name and monthly fee, the table shows the monthly data quota, and the charge per extra MB once you exceed the quota.

Monthly fee


Excess Data
(Nu / MB)
0 MB
333 MB
5555 MB

So, which package to use? If you use up to 33 MB per month - but not a drop more - you might consider opting for the “Pay-as-you-go” package. However, the charge for excess data is hefty, so use the software that comes with your data card to monitor your usage carefully. An extra GB (remember that one GB equals 1024 MB) will cost you a shocking Nu 3146! Watch a 20 MB YouTube video here, download a 10 MB attachment there, and you can quickly exceed the quota. Upon receiving the inflated bill you might experience a “ya lama moment”.

The “99” package is the recommended choice for most users. It includes 333 MB of data, but more importantly, the charge per extra MB is not as exorbitant as the “Pay-as-you-go” package. An extra GB here will cost you around Nu 315.

If you regularly use more than 3262 MB per month - that’s about 3.2 GB - the “999” package becomes cheaper than the “99” one, and will be your best option. B-Mobile used to offer an “Unlimited” package for Nu 999 per month which included unlimited data for a fixed price. This package will no longer be available, and any extra GB beyond the 5555 MB (5.4 GB) will now cost you Nu 210. Note that TashiCell still has an “Unlimited” package for Nu 777 per month. However, the TashiCell network uses the sluggish 2.5G technology, and not the faster 3G technology available on the B-Mobile network in Thimphu, Paro and Phuentsholing.

Readers are encouraged to submit technology-related questions to