North Koreans used cell phone messaging to independently organize a soccer group, surprising authorities, according to a new report on cell phone usage in the country.
The soccer club was apparently organized by a group at Kim Chaek University of Technology in Pyongyang, and could be one of the reasons that pushed authorities to launch a regional cell phone service that was more restrictive than previous offerings, said the report by Kim Yonho, a journalist with the Voice of America.
The report, “Cell Phones in North Korea,” was earlier this month by the U.S.-Korea Institute at SAIS, the Johns Hopkins School of International More >
Orascom Telecom Media and Technology (OTMT), the Egyptian company that owns a 75 percent stake in North Korea’s on 3G cellular network operator, has apparently been doing very well in the North Korean market.
A recent audit report by Deloitte says the company’s assets in North Korea stand at US$512 million, of which $422 million is sitting in cash. The figures were obtained using the official exchange rate on September 30. Due to currency controls imposed by the government, that cash isn’t readily available to OTMT to withdraw from the country.
“North Korea has implemented currency control restrictions and, in particular, rules More >
North Korea’s Koryolink cellular network has hit the 2 million subscriber mark, majority owner Orascom Telecom said this week.
The landmark was reached in late May, 15 months after it surpassed the million subscriber mark.
Koryolink launched its 3G cellular service in the final days of December 2008 and in the last four years has expanded service to cover all major towns, highways and railways in North Korea.
“When we first acquired the license in North Korea, people thought the service will only be provided to a few privileged individuals,” said Naguib Sawiris, Executive Chairman of Orascom Telecom Media and Technology in a statement. “We are More >
Koryolink, North Korea’s sole 3G cellular service provider, is close to hitting the 2 million subscriber mark.
The news was disclosed this week by the Koryolink CEO Ezz Heikal in Pyongyang and later confirmed by the company’s head office in Cairo. It means that Koryolink will have roughly doubled its subscriber base in the last 15 months. Koryolink hit a million subscribers in early February 2012.
Only a few years ago it would have been unusual to see anyone in Pyongyang speaking on a cell phone, but that all began to change in December 2008 when Koryolink launched its service. It’s now available across Pyongyang, More >
Over the weekend a series of stories from Pyongyang reported that visitors to North Korea can now buy SIM cards for the local Koryolink network so they can make international calls while in the country.
Thanks to an update from Young Pioneer Tours, which was the first to report on the new service, we now know how much those calls will cost.
Visitors have three options for purchasing a SIM card:
A 50 euro (US$67) card that is valid indefinitely and can be used on repeat visits. An unspecified amount of prepaid calling is included.
A two-week rental SIM card, which costs 50 euro More >
The North Korean government is now allowing tourists to keep hold of their cell phones when they enter the country and buy SIM cards on the local network, according to a report by China’s Xinhua news agency.
The report comes hours after Young Pioneer Tours said tourists on their most recent trip were able to take in cell phones.
Quoting an unnamed Egyptian technician with Koryolink, the Egyptian-Korean joint venture that operates North Korea’s sole 3G network, Xinhua reported that the policy changed on January 7 this year.
The technician said visitors should have to register their cell phone when they enter the country More >
North Koreans have not been banned from using mobile phones during a mourning period for Kim Jong Il despite a press report to the contrary, according to the majority owner of North Korea’s nationwide cellular network.
The U.K.’s Daily Telegraph newspaper reported on January 26th that the North Korean government had warned citizens they would be “branded as ‘war criminals’ and punished accordingly” if caught attempting to defect or use mobile phones during a 100-day period of national mourning.
Koryolink, North Korea’s only commercial 3G cell phone network, has signed up its millionth subscriber. The landmark was reached just over three years since service was launched.
Koryolink has been adding more than 100,000 new subscribers for each of the last five quarters and was expected to hit the million mark in early 2012.
The company is operated by Cheo Technology, which is a joint venture between Egypt’s Orascom Telecom Media And Technology Holding (OTMT) and North Korea’s Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications. OTMT holds a 75 percent stake and the North Korean government owns the remaining 25 percent.
This week’s earnings report for Koryolink, North Korea’s only widely available cell phone service, highlighted something I missed back in September: the company was a major sponsor of the 17th Taekwondo World Championships. The event took place in Pyongyang from September 6th to 12th.
Koryolink banners were strung around the Taekwando Hall where the international contest was taking place, as can be seen in video from KCNA. The company even had one on the front of the judges desk.
In its earnings report Orascom Telecom, the Egypt-based telecommunications company that holds a majority stake in Koryolink, said the deal was unique in North More >