Yesterday, the Cabinet officially approved the new regulation which requires all users of prepaid mobile phones to register their SIM card before July 31.
The authorities say that if you do not register your SIM card before the deadline, you will be unable to make calls from your device, although you will still be able to make calls to the emergency services.
The compulsory registration of prepaid SIMs in Thailand was first proposed by the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) in January, after it claimed the move was in the interest of national security, despite concerns from some mobile users regarding data protection and possible infringements of privacy.
Despite only now being formally approved by the Cabinet, the NBTC then announced that users had from February 1st to July 31st to register their prepaid SIM or face being unable to use their phone after the deadline.
It is estimated there are over 90 million active prepaid phones in Thailand that are yet to be registered.
Because of the sheer number of unregistered SIMs, a very rough approximation would mean that more 550,000 SIMs would need to registered per day from now until July 31st in order to meet the deadline.
Therefore, it remains to be seen whether this deadline will be met at all and it leaves the possibility that potentially millions of mobile users will be left with an all but useless mobile phone after July 31st.
That said, the process of registering your SIM is actually very straightforward.
This article gives clear instructions on how to register your prepaid SIM card but basically you just need to visit the local store of your service provider (Dtac, True, AIS), making sure you take your passport with you and inform staff you need to register your SIM card. The whole process should take no more than a couple of minutes.
In a further development, The Nation today also says that even if you only use your phone to access free Wi-Fi services, you are still required to register your device.
Thailand isn’t the only country that requires users to register prepaid SIM cards, with similar laws already in place in countries such as Australia, Japan, South Africa, France, Norway, Germany, Switzerland and Hungary.
‘Prepaid’ refers to mobile phones that you need to ‘top up’ or buy credit for in order to make calls. Also known as ‘pay-as-you-go’, the mandatory registration does not apply to users who pay a monthly bill to their service provider.
Jonathan is our Google Nexus and Android enthusiast. He is also fanatical about football which makes it all the more strange that he should support Stockport County. In addition to writing about tech, Jonathan has a passion for fitness and nutrition and has previously written for one the UK’s leading watch and horology websites.