All users of prepaid mobile phones in Thailand will have to register the phone numbers before July 31st this year or face having their service suspended. That’s according to the National Broadcasting and Telecommunication Commission (NBTC).
The secretary general of the NBTC, Thakorn Tanthasit, has said that February 1st is the first day when registration will begin and that strict enforcement is required for registering phones, either with the operators themselves, or alternatively at Krungthai Bank, superstores like Tesco Lotus and Big C, and 7-11 stores. It will be interesting to see how they cope with the expected deluge of people flooding in to register.
The Nation reports that there are 110 million active mobile phone numbers in Thailand, 90% of which are prepaid. However, only 10% of users are registered.
Apparently, mobile users in Thailand “will be given six months to register” or the mobile operators have been instructed to suspend the service for anyone that does not comply. Why? Well it’s all to do with preventing use of mobile prepaid phones in situations related to national security.
NBTC commissioner Prawit Leesathapornwongsa statted that the requirement for prepaid users to register had in fact been law for quite a long time but has not been strictly implemented. The current law says that users must register before a new number can be activated, however that has until now been ignored by the mobile phone companies. However, he did say that the new rules are rather unfair to customers, so to “soften the blow”, the NBTC may relax the requirements, for example by preventing anyone not registered from topping up.
We’re not quite sure how registering is supposed to prevent incidents of national security, as anyone could simply steal a phone if they’re intending to commit a crime, or perhaps even buy a prepaid phone in another country and activate international roaming.
We’re not also sure why the “strict deadline” of February the first seems to contradict the other statement that “users will be given six months to register”. Your guess is as good as ours.
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