Thailand starts cutting off unregistered SIMs in wake of bombing

20 Aug 2015

Thailand’s National Broadcasting & Telecommunication Commission (NBTC) has revoked a month’s grace period previously permitted for pre-paid mobile users who had not registered their identities by the national deadline of 31 July, with operators now under orders to begin blocking unregistered SIM cards from making outgoing calls/texts or accessing data services, TelecomAsia reports. The early cut-off decision was reportedly linked to security efforts in the aftermath of Monday’s deadly bomb attack in Bangkok. Unregistered users should still be able to receive calls and messages for an additional month. Before the bombing, the NBTC had been reportedly mulling a further three-month extension on top of the original month grace period.

As previously reported by CommsUpdate, the NBTC indicated that approximately 69.5 million pre-paid phone numbers, or more than 81%, of all pre-paid SIMs were registered by the deadline, while the regulator reckoned that among the roughly 16 million unregistered numbers, only 4.8 million (or 30%) were used regularly, indicating that the process will result in trimming over eleven million inactive SIMs from Thai operators’ subscriber bases.