North Korea to open up 3G mobile internet connectivity…for foreigners
Koryolink is a joint venture between the DPRK’s Korea Post & Telecommunications Corporation and Orascom Telecom Media and Technology Holding SAE, based in Egypt. The internet will open up to foreigners on the day that the country will launch its 3G data service. Citizens of North Korea will still not be allowed access to the internet however. That privilege remains available for only a select few of the elite, which keeps the country ranked at the bottom of internet freedom surveys.
Foreigners visiting North Korea used to not even be allowed to bring their mobile devices with them into the country, but the policy has been graciously loosened and now guests only need to purchase a SIM card from Koryolink for about $70. Per minute talk fees vary widely from about $0.50 per minute (to Switzerland or France) to more than $5.00 per minute to the United States. Calls to South Korea are not permitted.
The data plan pricing has not been announced yet. Cell phone service has been expanding rapidly (by North Korean standards) and allowing mobile data connectivity for foreigners is a pretty big step for a country that pretty much does not allow anyone to do anything, online or otherwise, anytime for any reason.