Users will only be allowed three prepaid SIM each from 1 April 2014 onwards, in a move the Singapore authorities say is designed to enhance security and tighten control over the use of prepaid SIM cards.
Previously, anyone who is at least 15 years old can sign up to a total number of 10 SIM cards. Prepaid SIM cards have been known to be leveraged as an anonymous communication platform over the years, and such a move should serve to deter and mitigate the associated security risks on this front.
This is not the first time that such controls have been introduced, as regulatory controls pertaining to prepaid SIM cards were first introduced by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) back in 2005.
In the recent years, the MHA had seen prepaid cards being registered and used with crimes including but not limited to unlicensed moneylending, scams, cheating, and syndicate-related activities. In the case of unlicensed moneylending, loansharks have been found guilty of using prepaid SIM cards for communication. Scammers have also been using it to communicate with victims.
This new limit will only affect new prepaid SIM subscribers and existing users can continue to use the SIM cards normally. It is understood that the majority of prepaid subscribers also hold less than three SIM cards today, while those holding more will be able to continue using them. Finally, expired SIM cards are not included in the count, and Singaporeans will also be allowed to use their passports for any new prepaid subscription.