NBTC issues registration alert
Prepaid mobile phone users will no longer be able to use the mobile service if they fail to register their personal information under a national telecom regulator circular, effective Feb 1.
Effective Feb 1, the authorities will require prepaid mobile phone users to register their numbers and personal information. Of Thailand's 105 million mobile subscribers, 90 million or 85.7% are prepaid ones. THANARAK KHUNTON
However, the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) will give current unregistered prepaid mobile users six months to register personal information.
After July 31, those failing to register subscriber information or providing incorrect information will have their mobile voice and data services terminated, NBTC secretary-general Takorn Tantasit said.
From Feb 1, mobile operators will be fined 80,000 baht a day if they activate prepaid subscribers' SIM cards without registration.
The local mobile market has seen a boom in prepaid mobile subscribers in the past 10 years as a result of operators' huge sales promotions.
Thailand has 105 million mobile subscribers including 90 million prepaid ones or 85.7% of total handset users.
But only 1.6 million prepaid users have properly registered their numbers. (So-called "post-paid" users receive a monthly bill, and are automatically registered.)
Mr Takorn said the rampant growth of mobile subscribers together with lax management posed major risks and problems to both users and operators.
Activated prepaid SIM cards are used to send advertising or messages insulting or threatening specific persons, plus criminals can easily exploit the numbers for use in illicit activities.
The measure also seeks to redress the rampant growth of prepaid mobile subscribers, many of whom are virtual, causing a waste of phone number resources and misuse of prepaid SIM cards.
"Strict measures are essential to reorganising the mobile industry and preventing unregistered phone numbers from being used to commit a crime," Mr Takorn said Wednesday after a meeting with representatives of five major mobile operators.
"Users and operators must adhere strictly to the NBTC's deadline, or they will face significant penalties."
Mr Takorn said mobile users could now register their SIM cards at subscriber information registration points in modern trade and department stores including Tesco Lotus and Big C.
Registering new SIM cards using national ID cards or other means of official identification will be allowed at 7-Eleven convenience stores.
"We're close to reaching an agreement with Krungthai Bank on adding a new registration point," Mr Takorn said.
Mobile operators, meanwhile, will expand their service points to 50,000 this year in a move that is aimed at facilitating users.