North Korea expands its mobile phone network -- but not near the border (updated).

Posted: 14 Aug 2010   Print   Send a link
The Korea Times, 11 August 2010, Kim Young-jin: "The North Korean government has launched mobile phone services in several cities outside Pyongyang, giving ordinary citizens their first chance to own a cell phone, a report said Wednesday. According to Radio Free Asia, cities near the border with South Korea have been excluded and high prices will likely preclude the vast majority of citizens from going mobile. The services opened Aug. 1, the report said. Citing a source in China, RFA said post offices in the North began selling mobile phones on prepaid plans from Aug. 1. ... Sources in the North said those in cities near the border remain forbidden from using cell phones because their proximity to the South could allow illegal cross-border communication. ... The phone service is operated in partnership with the Egyptian firm Orascom Telecom, which established networks for the North Korean elite two years ago."

Update: The Korea Times, 13 August 2010, Kim Young-jin: "Egypt’s Orascom, which operates the mobile operator Koryolink in partnership with the North Korean regime, said in a first-half report that services have expanded to several cities other than Pyongyang and that 184,531 subscribers had signed up as of June 30. Sixty percent of citizens now technically have access to the services, the firm said."