Thailand’s three major mobile operators – AIS, dtac and True – each have a month to install fingerprint scanners at 200 locations for registering all prepaid and postpaid subscribers to a new online ID system.

The three companies are required to have fingerprint scanners at 600 service centres next month and a total of 8,000 locations nationwide by the end of the year. The trio face penalties if they miss the deadlines, the Bangkok Post reported.

Telecoms regulator the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) announced in November the country’s mobile operators would be required to introduce an online fingerprint ID system for registering all new SIM cards. The regulator is encouraging all mobile users to add their fingerprints to the system on a voluntary basis to improve personal security.

The push for an ID verification system follows a number of fraud cases involving mobile banking in 2016. According to the Post, 14 million of Thailand’s 103 million mobile subscribers use mobile banking services. The registration system will complement operators’ existing mandatory SIM registration systems, and fingerprint IDs will be stored on an NBTC database.

NBTC secretary-general Takorn Tantasith told the Post MVNOs will also need to comply with the fingerprint ID regulation, but it is yet to decide the number of scanners they need to install.

Operators can deduct the costs of implementing the ID system from their annual universal service obligation (USO) fee, which is 3.5 per cent of revenue.