Laos Extends Deadline for SIM Card Registration

Ministry Orders Registration of All Phone Numbers in Laos

Laos has extended its deadline for SIM Card registration that will see every mobile phone number in the country fully registered.

The government first announced its national registration program in June last year, saying that as the country enters the new normal following the Covid-19 pandemic, proper registration of telephone numbers has become more crucial than ever.

SIM Card registrations will include registration under the KYC App, which will utilize QR Code technology to assist in contact tracing during the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to a notice issued by the Ministry of Technology and Communications, the deadline will now be extended to January 2022.

The notice states that because the second wave of Covid-19 has disrupted the sim card registration process and has prevented residents from registering their mobile phone numbers in person at service centers, the deadline for registration will be extended.

The process will be completed in three phases in accordance with an announcement made in June last year.

-From 1 May to 31 September 2021, all existing phone numbers must be properly registered.

-From 01 October to 30 November 2021, 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.

-From 1 December 2021 to 31 January 2022, any phone numbers that are not properly registered will be unable to make or receive calls, send SMS messages, or connect to the internet. Only calls to emergency services will be possible.

However, concerns remain about mobile phone users in rural areas, particularly the elderly, who may have difficulty registering their sim cards.

A 65-year-old lady from Nonsavan Village in Champasack Province’s Sanasomboun District told Laotian Times that she was unaware of the Lao KYC app and her SIM card had not yet been registered.

“I’m not sure what I’ll do if authorities cut off my SIM card connection; I only use my phone to contact my daughter and a few relatives, and getting to town is not easy for me,” she said.