Don’t forget that if you have a Thai pre-paid SIM card you must register your personal identification details with the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) by next Friday. This is part of Thailand’s new national security policy implemented since last year’s military coup as they feel that unregistered SIMs are used to set up fraudulent and illegal businesses as well as allowing terrorists to plant bombs. Those people who have mobile phone contracts are exempt.
If you don’t register your pre-paid SIM by 31st July, you will no longer be able to make phone calls or use Internet or other data services. However, you will still be able to receive calls from registered users.
Registration can be done at your mobile phone operator as well as branches of 7-Eleven, Big C, Tesco-Lotus, and Krung Thai Bank. You will need to take your passport (the original, not a photocopy).
I registered my two SIM cards at the Telewiz kiosk at Phuket’s Central Festival shopping mall. I handed my phone to the attendant manning the kiosk. She asked for my passport and then entered a few USSD codes into the phone. She then used the NBTC app on her phone to take two photos of the ID page of my passport (one for each SIM card I have). The app sent the data to the NBTC’s computer server, connected with the servers of the five telecom operators. The server verifies the information and sends the verified data back to the telecom operator’s server, to activate the SIM card. I received an SMS on each number (in Thai) stating that the registration had been completed. The entire process took less than two minutes.