It has been reported that the 3G network launched late last year in North Korea has already signed up some 20,000 subscribers. The Japan based, pro-North Korea newspaper, Choson Sinbo reported the figures noting that the customers include foreigners allowed to work in the country.
Last year, the Orascom Telecom, which owns 75% of the mobile network holding company, said that it expects to sign up an initial 100,000 subscribers when it launches its network.
The web based publication confirmed that the network coverage had expanded outside the capital city, Pyongyang and now included the main road running up to the Northern city of Hyangsan (noted for its pyramid shaped hotel). National coverage is expected by 2012.
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Source: Cellular News.
A mobile license was granted to Orascom Telecom's local subsidiary CHEO Technology JV Company (CHEO) which is controlled by Orascom Telecom with an ownership of 75% while the remaining 25% is owned by the state owned Korea Post and Telecommunications Corporation.
Mobile phones, thought to be based on a GSM system supplied by China were made available in the country in 2003, but only for government officials. Use of mobile phones by the general public in the Rason Economic Zone was allowed, but a ban was imposed in 2007 and people using them have been reportedly sentenced to execution.