Single mobile safety centre to be set up

Single mobile safety centre to be set up

A Samsung Note 7 phone battery burns after it exploded during a test at the Applied Energy Hub battery laboratory in Singapore. Thai telecom regulators are setting up a centre to verify safety standards of cellphone. REUTERS
A Samsung Note 7 phone battery burns after it exploded during a test at the Applied Energy Hub battery laboratory in Singapore. Thai telecom regulators are setting up a centre to verify safety standards of cellphone. REUTERS

A single centre for the verification of mobile phone safety standards is scheduled to be established by December to speed up verification of products and record accidents associated with mobile phone usage.

The centre will replace the two existing mobile phone verification facilities operated by the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) and the Industry Ministry.

The urgency for a single verification centre follows several incidents involving exploding phone batteries.

The NBTC will oversee the operation of the centre, said Takorn Tantasith, the commission's secretary-general.

At present, all mobile devices imported into Thailand for sale must be verified by the NBTC for technical and safety standards, while the Industry Ministry is in charge of verifying peripheral equipment such as batteries and chargers.

"Having a single centre will clearly define the responsibilities for each authority," said Mr Takorn. "It also reduces consumer confusion about where to file complaints when an accident occurs."

Mr Takorn said the centre will be set up at NBTC's headquarters. The Industry Ministry will assign technical officials to support the verification process.

Handset manufacturers and mobile operators have introduced various models of low-cost smartphones in the market to cash in on increasing demand for new features at affordable prices. This has led to more accidents related to mobile phone use.

Last month the NBTC banned the import and sale of three Lava smartphone models: Iris 600, 700 and 708. The three models are priced from 2,400 to 3,500 baht per unit.

Indian-made Lava smartphones are mainly distributed by Advanced Info Service, Thailand's largest mobile phone operator. The NBTC's findings suggest the models' batteries were at risk of explosion.

The regulator asked the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand to ban the use of the three models on board, the same measure applied to Samsung Galaxy Note 7, which also had faulty batteries.

The NBTC also sent a letter to Lava International (Thailand) Co, the Thai representative of the producer, to provide information about the usage of the three models.

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