All mobile phone users in Thailand will need to submit a scan of their fingerprint from 1 January 2018, the government has announced.
Failure to do so will result in the user being cut off from their respective mobile network.
Thailand’s National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) secretary general Takorn Tantasith made the announcement about mandatory fingerprint registration on Thursday.
Previously the requirement to submit a fingerprint scan was on a voluntary basis.
The requirement will begin with users in Bangkok and in Thailand’s troubled deep south provinces, Manager Online reported.
The Bangkok Post reports the requirement affects all mobile users.
Meanwhile The Nation reports that as well as fingerprint scans, facial recognition will also be used when purchasing a SIM card.
The facial recognition is taken from the ID card of a user which is inserted into a card reader to check the identity against a central database.
Mr Takorn said that fingerprint terminals will be installed at points of sale throughout Bangkok, as well as in Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat and that users can start registering fingerprints from 1 June.
He added the requirement will then be rolled out nationwide with 30,000 terminals installed at points of sale by 1 Jan 2018.
Mr Takorn said the move was not part of government surveillance but was a national security measure to help prevent bomb attacks and combat financial fraud.
Mr Takorn said registering a fingerprint takes no more than two minutes and is for the safety of users.