Thailand’s National Broadcasting & Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) has issued an ultimatum to pre-paid mobile SIM card users to register their identities by the end of July 2015, or face being blocked from using voice or mobile data services. Additionally, from 1 February 2015 mobile operators will be fined if they activate a new pre-paid subscriber SIM card without registering the customer’s identity. TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database shows that around 84 million (87.5%) of Thailand’s 96 million total reported mobile SIMs at the end of September 2014 were pre-paid, and today’s report from the Bangkok Post claims that only 1.6 million pre-paid users have registered their numbers so far, indicating that over 82 million SIMs are currently unregistered. Thailand’s military-led government has revived previous proposals to enforce pre-paid registration using arguments focusing on national security and prevention of fraud and other crimes, while the regulator has indicated that the new measure has a dual aim of clearing out inactive mobile SIM cards/phone numbers. NBTC secretary-general Takorn Tantasit stated: ‘Strict measures are essential to reorganising the mobile industry and preventing unregistered phone numbers from being used to commit a crime.’
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