April 18, 2017 -
Three of Thailand’s largest mobile operators have been ordered to establish at least 600 service centers for new prepaid and postpaid mobile SIM card users to enroll their biometric information into a voluntary online fingerprint ID system, according to a report by Bankok Post.
The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) have called on Advanced Info Service (AIS), Total Access Communication (DTAC) and True Move to provide fingerprint scanners at 200 service centers by next month.
Operators who fail to comply with the requirement will face penalties ranging from getting a new mobile number banned from the NBTC to having their mobile operating licence revoked.
The Commission is encouraging all mobile users to submit their fingerprints into the system for improved security benefits.
The biometric identification system is designed to improve the security of the mobile banking channel as well as counter potential fraud risks.
NBTC secretary-general Takorn Tantasith recently said that all mobile operators will be required to have 8,000 service areas in place for fingerprint ID systems by the end of the year.
At the service areas, mobile operators will scan the fingerprints of each mobile subscriber and store them on the Commission’s secure database server.
Takorn said that all mobile operators will be required to provide the fingerprint system for their subscribers as a more secure alternative registration system via mobile banking services.
Mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) — which provide mobile service but does not operate their own mobile network — will not be exempted from the fingerprint ID rule, Takorn said.
The Commission has not specified how many service areas MVNO and state telecom enterprises will have to provide, but is expected to disclose the information in the near future.
The NBTC is currently focusing on the three largest mobile operators because their combined customer base comprises of more than 90 percent of the country’s 103 million mobile subscribers.
Operators will have to shell out 8,000 baht (US$232.90) for each fingerprint scanner they install, which will linked to the Civil Registration System’s online data via a server at the Department of Provincial Administration.
Takorn also said the biometric ID system would not be a financial drain on mobile operators because the investment can be deducted as a business expense from their annual universal service obligation (USO) payment to the NBTC.