Business Technology

Saturday 30 August 2014

North Korea cancels 3G access after just one month

Published 27/03/2013 | 13:40

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North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un watches soldiers of the Korean People's Army (KPA) taking part in landing and anti-landing drills in the eastern sector of the front and the east coastal area

North Korea has reportedly cancelled the 3G mobile phone service that it introduced last month for tourists visiting the country.

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"3G access is no longer available for tourists to the DPRK [North Korea]," the tour group Koryo Tours said. "Sim cards can still be purchased to make international calls but no internet access is available."

Previously, phones had to be handed in at the border for the duration of a visitor's stay.

Koryolink, the only 3G mobile operator in North Korea, is jointly run by State-owned Korea Post and Telecommunications Corp. and the Egyptian company Orascom Telecom Holding.

The cancellation of the 3G service is a return to more secretive ways for the Communist country.

Last month tourists were told they could use their mobile phones to browse the internet, a right denied to North Korean residents.

The Koryolink network gives 92.9 per cent of the population some kind of mobile phone coverage, according to Wired.co.uk.

At the end of last month the first Instagram pictures from North Korea emerged, in a sign that social media had finally reached the country.

Taken by Jean H Lee, the bureau chief for the Associated Press in Pyongyang, the images showed everyday street scenes - commuters on their way to work, propaganda posters and dusk settling over the skyline of the city.

Some of the other images showed banners in public parks proclaiming the achievements of the scientists and technicians behind North Korea's recent underground nuclear test and posters in the lobby of The Koryo Hotel showing an Unha rocket, which was used in December to put a satellite into orbit.

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