Number of prepaid cards per subscriber to be reduced to enhance security

Number of prepaid cards per subscriber to be reduced to enhance security

SINGAPORE - The number of prepaid SIM cards per subscriber will be reduced from 10 to 3 with effect from April 1, 2014.

This means a subscriber can only register up to a maximum of 3 prepaid SIM cards in total, regardless of whether they are purchased from one or more mobile service providers.

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) made the announcement on Monday as part of the government's ongoing security review.

"Criminals continue to exploit prepaid SIM cards as an anonymous channel of communications for their illicit activities," said MHA and IDA in the joint statement. 

The government hopes that the revised limit will reduce the security risks associated with the anonymous use of prepaid SIM cards.

"For example, unlicensed moneylending syndicates have been found to make use of prepaid SIM cards for communications with debtors and among syndicate members in support of their illegal activities. This revised limit makes it more onerous for errant dealers to sell prepaid SIM cards that could potentially be used for such illegal activities."

In determining this new limit, MHA and IDA said they consulted the mobile service providers and taken into consideration the prevailing prepaid SIM card ownership patterns among consumers. The majority of prepaid SIM card subscribers today hold three or fewer prepaid SIM cards.

The new limit will only be applied to new prepaid SIM card registrations. Existing subscribers can continue to use their prepaid SIM cards. However, they will not be allowed to register additional prepaid SIM cards.

In addition to the above changes, Singaporeans will now be allowed to use their passports to register for prepaid SIM cards, in addition to NRICs, said the statement. 

maryanns@sph.com.sg

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