Communications in North Korea

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{system, computer, user}
{city, large, area}
{company, market, business}
{country, population, people}
{service, military, aircraft}
{law, state, case}
{line, north, south}
{war, force, army}

Communications in North Korea refers to the communication services available in North Korea. North Korea has yet to fully adopt mainstream internet technology due to its isolationist policies.[1]



By 1970 automatic switching facilities were in use in Pyongyang, Sinŭiju, Hamhŭng, and Hyesan. A few public telephone booths were beginning to appear in Pyongyang around 1990. Ordinary citizens do not have private telephone lines. There are international connections via Moscow and Beijing, and in late 1989 international direct dialing service was introduced from Hong Kong. A satellite ground station near Pyongyang provides direct international communications using the International Telecommunications Satellite Corporation (Intelsat) Indian Ocean satellite. A satellite communications center was installed in Pyongyang in 1986 with French technical support. An agreement to share in Japan's telecommunications satellites was reached in 1990. North Korea joined the Universal Postal Union in 1974 but has direct postal arrangements with only a select group of countries.

According to the CIA World Factbook, the telephone system is inadequate and no telephone directories are available. There were 1.18 million telephone main lines in use in 2007.

Mobile phones

In November 2002, mobile phones were introduced to North Korea and by November 2003, 20,000 North Koreans had bought mobile phones. On May 24, 2004 however, mobile phones were banned.[2] North Korea supposedly still has a mobile network in Pyongyang which is open for government officials only. Foreigners are not allowed to use (and also until recently to keep) mobile phones in North Korea, although certain high profile visitors such as leadership from the New York Philharmonic which visited North Korea in February 2008, were given rental phones to facilitate direct international communications.

In December 2008, a mobile phone service was launched in Pyongyang with current plans to expand coverage to all parts of the country. It is being installed and managed by the Egyptian company Orascom.[3] The official name of the 3G mobile phone service in North Korea is called Koryolink, and is a joint venture between Orascom and the state-owned Korea Post and Telecommunications Corporation (KPTC).[4] There has been a large demand for the service since it was launched, even among ordinary citizens.[5] In November 2009, Time Magazine reported that on a recent group tour, the North Korean tour guide had a mobile phone which was a gift from her boyfriend.[6] The foreign joint-venture Daedong Credit Bank in Pyongyang gives a North Korean mobile phone number with their contact details.[7]

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