Laos is to begin disconnecting all unregistered sim cards this month in line with an announcement made in July this year.
According to a notice issued by the Lao Ministry of Post and Telecommunications, all phone numbers across the country must now be properly registered or face permanent disconnection by the end of the year.
From 1 July to 30 November, all existing phone numbers were to be properly registered, and any new numbers and sim cards could not be issued without proper registration.
From 1 December to 31 December, any phone numbers that fail to properly register will be able to receive calls but will not be able to make calls. Data sims will no longer be able to connect to the internet.
The notice also reported that from 31 December onward, any phone numbers that fail to properly register will be disconnected and permanently removed from the telephone network.
But concerns remain about mobile phone users in rural areas, particularly the elderly, who may have difficulty registering their sims. With phones cut off completely, emergency services would not be available to those in need.
A Lao Telecom subscriber in Xieng Khouang Province told Laotian Times that he experienced difficulty registering a SIM card in his village, which is situated in a remote area.
He said that those living in remote areas have difficulty reaching a Lao Telecom service center to register their sim cards while doing so online can be tedious due to low signal.
To alleviate this issue, telecom workers have begun traveling to the provinces to assist rural people with sim card registration.