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.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Phone buyer, beware!

Planning to buy a phone soon? Watch out. Many of the 3G phones sold today in Bhutan can only be used as 2G phones. Why? Most phones sold in Bhutan are imported from India, where the 3G frequencies are 900/2100. However, the frequencies used in Bhutan are 850/2100. This is unfortunate. Many of the smartphones imported from India only support 3G at 900/2100. These phones will not be able to use 3G in locations where 850 is used, such as Thimphu, Bajo, and more. In addition, TashiCell's 3G network is also using 850, and so these phones will not be able to take advantage of this upcoming alternative to B-Mobile's 3G network.

Here is a photo I took today of a typical display window in a mobile shop in Thimphu.

Do (NOT) buy me!

Here are the 3G specifications of these phones.
  • Samsung Galaxy Music Duos: 3G at 900/2100
  • Samsung Galaxy Ace Duos: 3G at 900/2100
  • Samsung Galaxy S Duos: 3G at 900/2100
  • Samsung Galaxy Grand: 3G 900/1900/2100
(The Samsung REX 60, 80 and 90 do not support 3G at all)

All the 3G smartphones in the above photo do not support 850. If you plan to use them to connect to the Internet, you are wasting your money. A similar situation exists in other shops in Thimphu. Shops are packed with 3G phones that will not work in Thimphu. You will need to search carefully and make sure that the phone you buy supports 3G at 850. They are not easy to find: the selection is relatively poor, and their prices are high.

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