NBTC tightens registration regulation for unregistered phone SIM-card use

business January 22, 2015 01:00

By Usanee Mongkolporn
The Nation

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The users of around 90 million unregistered prepaid phone SIM cards will not be able to make calls or use data service on mobile phone devices, if they fail to register their SIM cards with their mobile phone network operators by July 31, the National Bro

The announcement will take effect on February 1, when people with unregistered SIM cards

can start registration. This is part of the NBTC’s move to serve the government’s national security policy.

There are 110 million mobile phone SIM cards in use, of which around 100 million are prepaid SIM cards. Of this total, only around 1.6 million SIM cards were registered by users. The remaining 90 million are unregistered.

Users have to register the cards by showing their ID cards [passport or migration licence if they are foreigners] to their mobile-phone operators within the deadline. If they fail to do so, they will not be able to make calls from their mobile phones or use data services – but they can still receive calls. They will be able to make calls and use data once they register with their mobile phone operators.

The NBTC has enforced its existing regulations requiring mobile phone operators to ask all subscribers of prepaid phone SIM cards to register the cards. However, few consumers cooperated as they were reluctant to provide copies of their ID cards. Some telecom firms faced daily fines for failing to register prepaid users.

NBTC secretary-general Takorn Tantasith said all users could start to register with the many channels, including 1,200 branches of KrungThai bank, 8,000 branches of 7-Eleven convenience stores, and branches of Big C, Tesco Lotus super stores plus nationwide branches of all mobile-phone operators.

The NBTC had already made available its “two-shots” application in the middle of last year to facilitate the registration process; mobile phone operators’ staff who sell SIM cards will download this application to their mobile phones. They will use the app to take a picture of the SIM card code and the buyer’s ID card. The app will then immediately send the data to the NBTC’s computer server, connected with the servers of the five telecom operators.

The NBTC server will verify the identity-card information and, if correct, send the verified data back to the telecom operator’s server, to activate the SIM card.

The NBTC has paid particular attention to mobile phone SIM registration as a matter of national security over the years. Unregistered SIMs have been used reportedly by terrorists to plant bombs, as well as for fraudulent and illegal businesses.