Thai NBTC starts cutting off unregistered SIMs

20 Aug 2015

Thai regulator NBTC has revoked the extension granted to mobile prepaid customers who have not registered their personal details in the aftermath of a recent devastating pipe bomb attack.

Prepaid users who failed to register their personal details by the July 31 deadline are now being cut off and rendered unable to use outbound calling and data services, the Bangkok Postreported.

Holdouts will still be able to receive calls and messages for an extra month, but outbound services are being disabled to prevent criminals from using unregistered numbers for illegal activities including remotely detonating bombs.

The NBTC had originally granted a one-month extension following the passing of the deadline, and was considering a further extension of three or four months. At the time, the regulator revealed that around 17.7 million numbers, including 4.7 million that are still active, had yet to register by this time.

But on Monday a pipe bomb was detonated on the Ratchaprasong Skywalk in Bangkok that left 20 dead and 125 injured, in what was believed to be a politically motivated attack.

In the wake of the attack, the NBTC is stepping up its efforts to enforce the SIM registration scheme, which was motivated in part by national security concerns.

Mobile operators are expected to terminate the remaining unregistered numbers within the next month. As per existing regulations, customers must be given 30 days' notice before services are cut off.

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