The Thai government plans to hand out SIMs granting free internet access to welfare recipients as part of the second phase of its subsidy scheme for the poor.
The SIMs will provide internet-only services over state-owned operator TOT's network with costs covered by the government, the Bangkok Postreported. Voice calls will be blocked.
But the exact details of the scheme have yet to be finalized. The SIMs will have a data cap, but this cap has not been decided on.
Details of the commercial agreement with TOT have also not been settled. According to the report, the government is considering buying wholesale capacity at cost prices to cover bandwidth for the service.
The initiative is aimed at enhancing employment opportunities for welfare recipients by, for example, making it easier to search and apply for jobs.
The second round of welfare benefits follows the government's decision in August to provide 41.94 billion baht ($1.27 billion) worth of financial assistance to low income earners, including subsidies for groceries, transport and transport for each welfare smart card, issued to those earning less than 100,000 baht per year.