Fingerprinting for SIMs made mandatory
NBTC makes volte-face on voluntary regime
All mobile users must participate in the online fingerprint ID system for new prepaid and postpaid mobile SIM card registration, or they will not be allowed to use mobile service.
The automated fingerprint registration system, implemented by the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC), is set to start from Jan 1, 2018, said secretary-general Takorn Tantasith.
Earlier, the NBTC had conducted fingerprint registration on a voluntary basis.
The regulator unveiled the first fingerprint ID machine to the media Thursday, with a plan to launch the first batch of 30 machines on May 31.
Mr Takorn said 25 of those machines will be installed in three provinces in the deep South: Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat.
The fingerprint ID system is aimed at creating greater security and benefits for mobile users, especially mobile banking service.
He said the number of fingerprint registration machines will be delivered to mobile operators nationwide, with 30,000 machines targeted by year-end.
"From Jan 1, all mobile users must participate in the system if they want access to mobile network service," he said.
Through a fingerprint enrolment process, mobile operators will scan each person's fingerprints, which will stored on the national ID card database and the NBTC's secure database.
The fingerprint machine will cost mobile operators 8,000 baht per unit for installation. The machine will be capable of connecting civil registration data through the server of the Department of Provincial Administration.
Mr Takorn said the fingerprint system would not create a financial burden on mobile operators because the investment can be deducted as a business expense from the universal service obligation fee that operators pay annually to the NBTC.
Online fingerprint ID registration will take less than two minutes, he said.
Mr Takorn said the NBTC is focusing on the three southern provinces in order to protect against bombings triggered via mobile phone signals.
Mr Takorn said all mobile users who have registered via the existing registration system in the three southern provinces have to register again with the online fingerprint ID system by October.
Those who failed to comply with the rule face a mobile signal cut-off.