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Thailand suspends over 13,000 SIM cards for making 100 calls a day

Thailand has suspended over 13,000 SIM cards for making 100 calls a day in a new measure to combat growing number of phone scams.

Gigi Onag

January 31, 2024

2 Min Read
Man using mobile phone in Thailand
(Source: Porapak Apichodilok/Pexels)

More than 13,000 SIM cards in Thailand have been suspended for making over 100 calls per day in a renewed bid to fight online scams, according to the country's Ministry of Digital Economy and Society.

"SIM cards are an important tool of criminals, especially call centre gangs. The scammers use SIM cards to make phone calls or send SMS with malicious links. So, improved regulation of SIM cards is an important method to stop these gangs," MDES Minister Prasert Chantararuangthong told local media last week.

The SIM service suspension began on January 20 as a new measure enforced by the government to combat the growing number of phone scams. 

Of the total of 13,237 SIM cards that have been suspended, 7,344 were registered with DTAC, 4,196 with AIS, 1,688 with True, and nine with National Telecom (NT).

The government said 1,925 SIM cards have been reactivated after their users confirmed ownership. About 11,312 SIM cards remain suspended as their owners had not shown up yet.

According to reports, the next agenda for the ministry will be the introduction of a measure that aims to stop “scam short messages" that trick mobile phone users to click on malicious links.

Tighter controls of multiple SIM card users

The suspension of SIM cards that made over 100 calls a day came shortly after the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) started implementing the registration of multiple SIM card users to verify their identity.

Under the new rule, people who have between six and 100 SIM cards must verify their identity with their telecom service providers within 180 days, starting from January 16, while those with more than 100 SIM cards are required to do so within 30 days.

Failure to comply will result in termination of mobile services associated with the SIM cards a month after the specified registration deadline.

NBTC and Thailand's three major telco operators estimate that some 300,000 people, who collectively own 6 million SIM cards, are covered by the new rule meant to curb the rise of cybercrime in the country.

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About the Author(s)

Gigi Onag

Senior Editor, APAC, Light Reading

Gigi Onag is Senior Editor, APAC, Light Reading. She has been a technology journalist for more than 15 years, covering various aspects of enterprise IT across Asia Pacific.

She started with regional IT publications under CMP Asia (now Informa), including Asia Computer Weekly, Intelligent Enterprise Asia and Network Computing Asia and Teledotcom Asia. This was followed by stints with Computerworld Hong Kong and sister publications FutureIoT and FutureCIO. She had contributed articles to South China Morning Post, TechTarget and PC Market among others.

She interspersed her career as a technology editor with a brief sojourn into public relations before returning to journalism joining the editorial team of Mix Magazine, a MICE publication and its sister publication Business Traveller Asia Pacific.

Gigi is based in Hong Kong and is keen to delve deeper into the region’s wide wild world of telecoms.

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