Subscriptions to Koryolink, North Korea’s only 3G mobile phone network, have just passed the 2.4 million mark, according to the latest figures from the operator.
The figure represents a significant slowdown in growth in the last year over the previous year and points to the first big spurt in subscriptions being over. The carrier might have to start working harder to continue attracting new users.
At the end of June, the network had just over 2.4 million subscribers, according to Orascom Telecom Media and Technology, the Egyptian company that owns 75 percent of the company.
North Korea’s sole 3G mobile network operator has moved to plug a potential gap in the country’s considerable national censorship regime.
The loophole could have provided North Koreans with unrestricted access to international phone calls and Internet access and relied on the prepaid SIM cards that have been available to tourists since February 2013.
The cards, purchased upon arrival in Pyongyang, provide visitors with access to a part of the 3G network reserved for foreigners and those in powerful positions.
Typically, North Koreans that can afford a mobile phone can only make domestic phone calls and have no international Internet access from their More >
Shops in cities on the Chinese side of the border are attempting to tempt North Koreans with cheap cellphones for use on their country’s mobile phone network, according to a report by Radio Free Asia.
The phones are on sale for about half the price they would fetch in North Korea, but are attracting few customers, the Washington, D.C., -based organization said quoting an unnamed source in the Chinese city of Dandong.
It said “candybar” -style phones cost about US$55, folding “clamshell” -style phones are about $80 and smartphones cost around $130.
A shop in Dandong, China, advertising cellphones that work on North Korea’s More >
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 >
A smartphone that was lost in South Korea has apparently surfaced in Pyongyang.
A South Korean Internet used posted a screenshot from Google’s Android Device Manager that shows the phone on Sungri Street (승리거리) in Pyongyang. The page says the location accuracy is 75 meters.
Curtis Melvin, author of North Korea Economy Watch and authority on places in the DPRK, told me Sungri Street runs through the central district in Pyongyang. It’s marked on Google Maps and is the road that dissects Kim Il Sung Square.
It hasn’t been possible to verify the story, but the SHV-E210S is the model name of a Samsung Galaxy 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 >
Well, that didn’t last for long. Short-term tourists entering the DPRK can no longer get mobile Internet service, according to Koryo Tours.
“3G access is no longer available for tourists to the DPRK. Sim cards can still be purchased to make international calls but no internet access is available,” the Beijing-based North Korean tourism specialist said in a short notice on its website.