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North Korea to Allow Mobile Phones in Pyongyang

Posted February. 19, 2008 03:11,   


The Tokyo Shimbun reported on Feb. 18 that North Korea plans to lift its ban on the use of mobile phones in April starting from Pyongyang, quoting a source in Beijing.

Some four years have passed since the communist regime prohibited mobile phone services after an explosion in the city of Ryongchon adjacent to the border of China in April 2004.

North Korea’s Central News Agency announced in January 2007 that the country agreed to cooperate with Egypt’s Orascom Telecom in the area of communication.

The Tokyo Shimbun reported that the telecommunication company had announced that it won the right to provide mobile phone services at the end of last month, adding the North’ lifting of ban is seen as a follow-up measure.

The Egyptian company announced that that its subsidiary, 25 percent of which is going to be owned by North Korea’s state-run Korea Post and Telecommunications Corp., won the right to provide mobile phone services. Orascom said the license was valid for 25 years and it plans to invest up to $400 million in network infrastructure and license fees.

The mobile phone services in the North will use W-CDMA, a 3G technology used in countries such as South Korea and Japan. It is known to support a video call and high-speed data transmission.

The newspaper added that the North will expand service areas gradually.