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

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.

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. gustavo.saiki

Posts: 4; Member since: Jun 22, 2012

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

12. Forsaken77

Posts: 553; Member since: Jun 09, 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 ;)

9. gustavo.saiki

Posts: 4; Member since: Jun 22, 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.

6. cepcamba

Posts: 717; Member since: Feb 27, 2012

Like a movie

5. Gaurav008

Posts: 328; Member since: Jul 20, 2012

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

4. JunitoNH

Posts: 1946; Member since: Feb 15, 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.

7. saltydog15

Posts: 11; Member since: Jun 13, 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!

8. cepcamba

Posts: 717; Member since: Feb 27, 2012

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

3. Galen20K

Posts: 585; Member since: Dec 26, 2008

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

2. RaKithAPeiRiZ

Posts: 1488; Member since: Dec 29, 2011

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

1. loken

Posts: 462; Member since: May 09, 2012

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

10. nofear

Posts: 151; Member since: Jun 22, 2012

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

11. loken

Posts: 462; Member since: May 09, 2012

well do they sell them in prk? idont think so

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