Mobile phone subscriptions quadruple in North Korea

09:17, November 10, 2010      

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Mobile phone subscriptions have more than quadrupled in North Korea in 12 months, the operator said, as a growing number of youths in the reclusive communist state clamor for wireless telecom.

Cairo-based Orascom Telecom Holding said in its third quarter earnings report that the number of subscribers in the country had jumped to 301,199 by the end of September.

"Koryolink continued the utilization of its 3G network and successfully launched the video calling service to the market, which resulted in a high level of demand, especially from the youth segment," it said on its website.

Koryolink is Orascom's subsidiary in North Korea.

However, Orascom said overall "mobile penetration" remains at 1 percent in the country, which has a per-capita GDP of $1,900 and a population of 22.8 million.

North Korea has strictly controlled access to outside information and fixes the tuning controls of radios and televisions to official stations.

In November 2002, mobile phones were introduced to North Korea, and a year later 20,000 North Koreans had bought mobile phones. But Pyongyang shut it down without explanation 18 months later and recalled handsets.

In December 2008 the country introduced a 3G mobile phone network in a joint venture with Orascom.

Source: Global Times


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