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This month the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) is expected to introduce a new away for telecoms to register new prepaid mobile-phone subscriptions. This move is being introduced as way to regulate the market and encourage new customers to register SIM cards.
According to the NBTC deputy secretary General Korkij Danchaivichit, if customers decline to participate in this new application based registration method, their new SIM card will not be activated.
An NBTC source said this would also comply with the National Security police of the military coup-makers National Council for Peace and Order.
The NBTC have instructed five mobile phone operators to employ this method, however it will not be used with pre-activated SIM cards that have already circulated in the market, only new batches.
This new method will work by the member of staff who has sold the SIM card to the customer, downloading the app onto the mobile phone. The app is compatible with all mainstream mobile phone operating systems. He or she will then use the app to take a picture of the SIM card code and the buyers ID card.
The app will then immediately send the data to the NBTC’s computer server, which is connected with the servers of the five telecom operators. The NBTC server will identify the ID card information, and if it is correct will send the verified data back to the telecom operator’s server, which will activate the SIM card.
Korkij insisted that the data would not be stored in the mobile phones of shop staff, so the buyers need not worry about security.
The NBTC has instructed the telecom operators to launch campaigns to entice existing prepaid mobile-phone subscribers to register their SIM cards by this method with offers that might include additional wireless data usage time to those registering their existing SIM cards.
He said the NBTC was expected to introduce this new registration method before the end of this month.
Of the total of about 100 million mobile-phone numbers currently in use in Thailand, 90 per cent are prepaid. However, only a handful of those are registered with the operators.
The NBTC imposed regulations requiring the operators to register information of the buyers of new prepaid SIM cards years ago but few consumers cooperated, reluctant to provide copies of their identity cards. The commission believes that this application-based method will make registering much more convenient for consumers.
The telecom operators have asked for authorisation from the Central Administrative Court to waive the existing regulations governing SIM card registration, claiming they are impractical.