The Ministry of Technology and Communications (MOTC) office in Laos issued a notice on Thursday, stating that all phone numbers across the country must be registered by 16 December, which can be done through the 3Grab app and the Lao KYC app.
According to the notice, starting 1 October, telecommunications and internet companies will only be allowed to sell SIM cards through designated company service points.
The notice adds that starting 1 October, no new SIM cards or phone numbers will be issued without proper registration and documentation, and that unregistered phone numbers that have been in use before 1 October must be registered by 16 December.
“Telecommunications and internet companies must verify the information of all phone number users who have not yet registered and continue to encourage them to register their phone numbers and relevant details correctly before the deadline,” the notice states, while also asking unregistered users to do so as soon as possible.
Meanwhile, according to the notice, non-compliance will result in legal action, including fines.
“Telecommunications and internet companies, individuals, legal entities, and organizations, both Lao citizens and foreigners, who do not comply with the provisions of this notice will be subject to legal action, including fines,” it states.
The notice on SIM card registration was first issued in late June 2020, requiring all phone numbers to be properly registered and the registration process to be completed by the end of that year.
However, the deadline for SIM card registration was later extended to January 2022, as the second wave of COVID-19 had disrupted the registration process.
As a result, the latest notice has raised criticism on social media, with some people saying that the registration should have been done much earlier, while others have cited concerns about whether the registration process of all phone numbers can be completed by the deadline.