The National Credit Bureau (NCB) plans to collect mobile phone usage data to meet the World Bank's demand for additional information in evaluating ease of doing business.
The credit bureau will gather data from utility service providers, starting with mobile phone usage. Such data is available from the country's three mobile phone operators -- Advanced Info Service Plc (AIS), True Move H Universal Communication (TUC) and Total Access Communication Plc (DTAC) -- said NCB chief executive Surapol Opasatien.
According to the World Bank's Ease of Doing Business (EODB) project for 2020, the NCB is required to provide additional information from utility companies, retailers and merchants, and trade creditors.
Utility service providers include those engaged in telecommunications, electricity, tap water, gas or similar services. Retailers and merchants are defined as department stores, furniture shops, car dealers and others, while trade creditors refer to those providing commercial credit to corporate clients and supplier credit.
The additional data is expected to help raise Thailand's ranking in the World Bank's survey of business-friendly countries.
Thailand's ranking among 190 economies in the World Bank's 2019 EODB report fell a notch to 27th, though its overall score improved by 1.06 percentage points to 78.45. Thailand's score, an absolute measure of the country's progress towards global best practices, rose from 77.39 in the previous year.
Mr Surapol said the NCB needs regulatory amendments to allow it to provide such information and has already informed the Bank of Thailand.
Regulations to be amended include those governing both the NCB and mobile phone service operators.
"The World Bank considers quantitative utility usage rather than utility bill payment," Mr Surapol said. "Quantitative usage would show the economic development of a country."
Several countries in the region are paying more attention to utility data reports. Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei plan to provide additional data to facilitate the EODB 2020 report.
Vietnam is considering the issue, while Myanmar is in the process of setting up a national credit bureau, Mr Surapol said.
The EODB report measures regulations affecting 11 areas, including starting a business, dealing with construction permits, getting electricity, registering property, getting credit, paying taxes, trading across borders, enforcing contracts and resolving insolvency.