NBTC tightens SIM rules
Bangkok Post Public Company Limited
The Office of National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) will implement new regulations by early next year requiring all mobile phone users who have more than five registered active SIM cards to re-register or verify those SIM cards at mobile operators’ service centres. The move is another effort to curb fraud committed via mobile phone. The regulator finalised the draft of the new regulations which will be forwarded for discussion by focus groups before being forwarded to the NBTC board for its consideration and approval, according to Pol Gen Nathathorn Prousoontorn, the NBTC commissioner responsible for legal issues. Those who have more than five SIM cards will have to register them again or verify their SIM cards at the operators’ service centres within 60 days after the regulation comes into effect or the cards will be deactivated. People who fail to do so within the first 30 days following the regulation’s enforcement will be able to receive calls but won’t be able to make calls. According to the NBTC, as of September there were 94.6 million active SIM cards held by 64.8 million people. There were 64.5 million people who held between one and five SIM cards or 85.1 million SIM cards in total. There were 286,148 people holding between six and 100 SIM cards or 3.33 million SIM cards in total. Another 7,664 people each hold more than 100 SIM cards or around 6.1 million SIM cards in total. Pol Gen Nathathorn said the NBTC aims to eliminate all factors that facilitate fraud or crime. The existing NBTC regulation allows one ID card to buy and register no more than five SIM cards. Some people who carry out business hold many SIM cards such as retailers or sellers of SIM cards or mobile handsets, or business owners who distribute mobile SIM cards to employees for use in daily operations. Last year, the NBTC board passed a resolution to impose hefty administrative punishments on mobile phone operators unable to manage SIM card registrations according to the NBTC’s related regulations, with a fine of 1 million baht per day. In the past, the subscription of a large number of SIM cards was limited to certain groups, namely small mobile phone dealers or mobile phone distributors who have stores in malls or communities. The ownership of many SIM cards may change hands but the registration details remain in the original registrant’s name. Pol Gen Nathathorn said all mobile operators are forced to comply fully with the existing regulation that the owner of one ID card is able to buy and register no more than five SIM cards. Operators were ordered to rectify any such violations of this rule through their dealers, otherwise they would face a hefty punishment. He added that people who want to use one ID card to register for more than five SIM purchases would have to contact mobile operators’ service centres to prevent scammers from using a SIM card to deceive people that would cause trouble.