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Thailand's telecoms regulator, central bank join forces to boost cyber security

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Thailand's telecoms regulator and central bank said on Friday they had agreed steps to improve cyber security for electronic transactions via mobile phones as the country pursues a goal to become a cashless society.

[BANGKOK] Thailand's telecoms regulator and central bank said on Friday they had agreed steps to improve cyber security for electronic transactions via mobile phones as the country pursues a goal to become a cashless society.

A finger print scan will be among the measures to be introduced to protect mobile users from scams, and it should be ready for service in December, Takorn Tantasith, secretary-general of the regulator, told a news conference.

The regulator National Broadcasting and Telecommunication Commission will also examine the service fees that telecoms operators charge customers to ensure fair treatment, he said.

Thailand has about 10 million mobile banking users out of the 67 million population and the number is expected to rise after a strong growth of average 73 per cent annually in the past five years, Bank of Thailand governor Veerathai Santiprabhob said.

The cooperation will support the country's electronic payment policy after the central bank and Thai commercial banks announced on Wednesday a plan to offer a new money-transfer system, PromptPay, Mr Veerathai said.

PromptPay, previously known as AnyID scheme, is seen as the first stage to transfer Thailand into a cashless society.

It will enable people to use national ID or mobile phone numbers for payments to buy goods and money transfers, and it will open for registration on July 15 before services start on October 31.

The launch of super high-speed fourth generation mobile services is the main driver pushing up growth in mobile banking and electronic commerce in Thailand, Mr Takorn said.

Thailand, the second-largest smartphone market in Southeast Asia, has imported more than 77 million smartphones since 3G services were launched by operators in 2013, Mr Takorn said.

The country, which has about 103 million active mobile numbers, is expected to import 16 million to 17 million smartphones in 2016, lower than about 20 million last year, as the market is becoming saturated as many Thais have more than one mobile phone, he said.

REUTERS