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Thai operators must install fingerprint scanners by May

The three largest operators in Thailand have been given a one month deadline to install fingerprint scanners to register all subscribers to an online ID database.

AIS, dtac and True have until next month to deploy the scanners at 600 service centres in 200 locations. By the end of 2017, they will need to extend the rollout to 8000 locations across the country, with penalties looming if they fail to hit these targets.

In November, regulator NBTC (National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission) confirmed that it was introducing a fingerprint ID system for registering all SIM cards, with which the country’s operators would need to comply. Mobile users are being encouraged to register voluntarily for security purposes.

NBTC’s focus on fingerprint verification comes as a result of several instances of mobile banking fraud during 2016. The regulator will store all registered fingerprints on a central database, with the system tying into operators’ current obligatory SIM registration systems.

MVNOs will also be required to install fingerprint ID scanners, although the actual number required has not yet been decided, according to NBTC secretary-general Takorn Tantasith. All operators can cover the cost of implementing the ID system by deducting it from their yearly USO (universal service obligation) payment, which is calculated as 3.5% of their annual revenue.