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North Korea has over 1 million cell phone users, still no one knows about Angry Birds

Posted: , by Nick T.

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North Korea has over 1 million cell phone users, still no one knows about Angry Birds
Although it is somewhat hard to believe, people in North Korea – arguably the most isolated country in the world, do have access to cell phones. In fact, local wireless carrier Koryolink, which has been operating within the country since 2008, has over 1 million subscribers already. In comparison, that figure stood at around 300,000 back in 2010, meaning that phone ownership is definitely on the rise. Sure, a million users may not seem like much, yet keep in mind that country's average monthly salary is roughly $15, while a cell phone may retail for up to $400. To no surprise, only the country's elite can afford to own one. As a side note, the population of North Korea is estimated to be around 24.5 million, meaning that 4% of its residents have the luxury to own a mobile phone.

The number of subscribers, however, does not take into account those who own cell phones smuggled from other countries. Some people take the risk and import handsets from China, which are then sold illegally for a fraction of the price for a Koryolink phone. Using these smuggled handsets, people can make international phone calls near the north border, where Chinese carriers have coverage.

North Korea has over 1 million cell phone users, still no one knows about Angry Birds
Making international phone calls over Koryolink, on the other hand, is not allowed in North Korea, which makes sense since the government wants to prevent any information from leaking outside of the country. Accessing the internet is out of the question as well, as you might imagine. Some more "advanced" handsets that can be found there, however, are capable of taking photos and videos. Users even use their devices to exchange data via removable memory cards. Subscribers can use Koryolink's services only a prepaid basis and need to buy additional minutes once their load runs out. When the carrier started operation, all numbers began with 1912, which is the birth year of North Korean president Kim Il-sung. As its user database grew, numbers starting with 1913 were introduced.

Image courtesy of Eric Laforgue

13 Comments
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posted on 30 Jul 2012, 05:22 1

1. loken (Posts: 462; Member since: 09 May 2012)


hmm so who makes the phones for north korea? or are htc sony moto or samsung even allowed

posted on 30 Jul 2012, 17:08

10. nofear (Posts: 149; Member since: 22 Jun 2012)


How come? that you are forgetting about Apple. This product is made in China.

posted on 31 Jul 2012, 00:27

11. loken (Posts: 462; Member since: 09 May 2012)


well do they sell them in prk? idont think so

posted on 30 Jul 2012, 05:36 1

2. RaKithAPeiRiZ (Posts: 1343; Member since: 29 Dec 2011)


Im sure most phones are made in china since they are the sole trade partners

posted on 30 Jul 2012, 07:09

3. Galen20K (Posts: 512; Member since: 26 Dec 2008)


I"ve said it before but North Korea is batshiot Crazy..... = /

posted on 30 Jul 2012, 07:48

4. JunitoNH (Posts: 891; Member since: 15 Feb 2012)


North Korea population kind reminds me of the indigent population of the US. They don't have lots of money, don't own a car, and/or house, but own a smartphone. They should be concentrating in purchasing what is important, food, clothing etc. People forget phones are just a convenience and luxury.

posted on 30 Jul 2012, 08:19

7. saltydog15 (Posts: 11; Member since: 13 Jun 2012)


hah you forgot that the people in this country like that get a fat discount on their cell phone service to reward their inability to make smart financial decisions!

posted on 30 Jul 2012, 10:53

8. cepcamba (Posts: 717; Member since: 27 Feb 2012)


These people in North Korea don't have smartphones, they have feature phones.

posted on 30 Jul 2012, 08:00 3

5. Gaurav008 (Posts: 274; Member since: 20 Jul 2012)


Such a s**tty country...0_0

posted on 30 Jul 2012, 08:17

6. cepcamba (Posts: 717; Member since: 27 Feb 2012)


Like a movie

posted on 30 Jul 2012, 11:36 1

9. gustavo.saiki (Posts: 4; Member since: 22 Jun 2012)


You guys are so clueless... they live in a dictatorship. I can assure you that their lesser concern is whether or not they have a mobile phone. Did you even read about the $15 average salary? Or are you just too busy texting? They can't have that. People talk a lot but never put themselves on the others' shoes.

posted on 31 Jul 2012, 01:46

12. Forsaken77 (Posts: 547; Member since: 09 Jun 2011)


So a kid that works at McDonalds for a year here can go to North Korea and be a millionaire living in a mansion. I'd even pay my N. Korean servants $20/month to show them what a nice guy I am ;)

posted on 31 Jul 2012, 10:38

13. gustavo.saiki (Posts: 4; Member since: 22 Jun 2012)


No, they couldn't. It's dictatorship. No one goes in or out. Read a little.

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