The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) has set a Friday deadline for mobile operators to start properly registering prepaid SIM cards and scrapping the expiration date on prepaid mobile credits, or face tough fines and other penalties.
The resolution was reached Monday at a meeting between NBTC commissioners and mobile operators' representatives.
The watchdog threatened to double or triple the fine currently imposed on the operators if they failed to comply with the rules, said Takorn Tantasit, the NBTC's secretary-general.
Initially, the NBTC ordered a fine of 80,000 baht per day on operators failing to comply with the prepaid registration rule. This is in compliance with Section 64 of the 2001 Telecom Business Act which requires operators to register prepaid customers' personal data.
Effective from Jan 3, the four operators _ Advanced Info Service (AIS), Total Access Communication (DTAC), TOT Plc and CAT Telecom _ are supposed to pay 14.6 million baht each for retroactive fines dating from July 6, 2012.
The NBTC has also imposed an additional 100,000 baht per day on AIS, DTAC and True Move if they still set an expiration date on their prepaid mobile services.
The three operators are supposed to pay retroactive fines of 21.9 million baht each dating from May 30 to Jan 3.
The NBTC issued warning letters to the operators last week.
Mr Takorn said identification cards will be required from this Friday for customers who want to buy a prepaid SIM card from mobile operators.
Also, operators must scrap the limitation on the expiration date for prepaid mobile credits.
Customers who found any operators failing to comply with the rule can file complaints at the NBTC's office.
Mr Takorn said yesterday's resolution also wanted operators to set all mobile tariff rates at no higher than 99 satang a minute.
"The regulator needs to strictly govern the issues in the most efficient way as soon as possible as part of its plan to reorganise the industry's regulations under the new standard," he said.
The NBTC yesterday reported it received 2,265 complaints last year, up from 2,184 in 2011.
True recorded 780 complaints, of which True Move registered 322 complaints, TrueMove H 259, True Internet 107, True Corp 70, True Life Plus 21, and TrueVisions 1.