There are 2.8 million mobile phone subscribers in the country, a steady increase from two million in 2013
Slightly more than one out of every 10 people in North Korea has a mobile phone, says a Korea Times report citing data from Statistics Korea.
That is to say that there are 2.8 million mobile phone subscribers in the country, a steady increase from two million in 2013. According to Statistics Korea, which has been releasing annual data and numbers for the last 20 years, North Korea has a population of 24.7 million as of 2014.
It can be believed that many of these mobile phone users are using the devices for more than just making voice calls and text messages. According to the Associated Press, which recently wrote about a game app called Boy General, North Koreans are now increasingly using their handsets to play mobile games. This app, shared over Bluetooth, is said to be a spinoff of an animation series.
In 2011, DailyNK reported that “a single-piece handset” cost about US$250. The source quoted in the story told the newspaper that a US$10 calling card would let users talk for 600 minutes.
In 2008, the country also launched Koryolink, a state-run mobile operator that allows citizens to use basic telecom services. As per a report by The Guardian, about 2.5 million people have signed up with the firm as of 2014.
Additionally, Simon Cockerell, General Manager, Koryo Tours, explained the differences between a North Korean and foreign cell phone on an Instagram post:
“… North Koreans don’t have Instagram, they don’t have access to the Internet on their phones. North Korean smartphones can access the internal intranet, but not the World Wide Web. The members of this group (such as myself) post from North Korea using 3G sim cards which are available to foreigners there. On the Koryolink network. in this pic the [young] lad is using a local phone, made in China (like everything) but [it’s] a North Korean phone and only works internally there. The [SIM] cards used by foreigners there for internet are different.”
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