According to an announcement of the Thai government’s National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission Office (NBTC), all phone users must register their SIM cards by July 31, 2015. After July 31st, unregistered SIM cards will be locked and will only receive incoming calls for about 15 days but won’t be able to make outbound calls, send messages or connect to the internet. The registration requirement is a national security policy designed to identify ownership and prevent fraud for illegal purposes. However, it also impacts asylum seekers and refugees.
To check your SIM registration status, call *151# and wait to get a message back.
For foreigners, they will ask for your original passport or other documents issued by the Thai government (ex. work permit, alien book, migrant worker card, etc.). However, the providers may allow you to use your UNHCR document to register your SIM card as well. Please keep in mind that there is a risk telling them your personal information because they will send this information (photocopy of your document and your phone number) to the government and to your provider database which mean they can track you anytime.
If you have some Thai friends or know any Thai person, if it is possible, you may consider asking them to register the SIM under their name for you. There is no limitation for Thai nationals to register the SIM cards which means they can register as many SIM cards as they want. If this is not an option for you, then you will have to register with your own document or you won’t be able to use your phone after July 31, 2015.
To register a SIM card, bring your phone with a SIM card and the original UNHCR document to the provider’s shops. Please note that you also need to show your document for registration if you want to buy a new SIM card.
Registration is free and don’t have to take your SIM card out of your cellphone. They will take a photo of your cellphone and your document; you don’t have to fill any form. It will take only a few minutes.
If you lose your registered SIM card, let the provider know immediately to disable your SIM card and request a new SIM card with your old phone number.
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