DPRK to produce mobile phones

According to Telegeography:

Tokyo-based newspaper Chosun Sinbo has reported that mobile subscriptions in the DPRK are continuing to rise steadily and could reach 600,000 by the end of the year. The pro-North Korea newspaper added that the number of cellular customers in the communist state currently stands at over 120,000, with wireless infrastructure reportedly present in more than half of the country’s cities and counties that is expected to accommodate 600,000 subscribers by year-end. The DPRK’s only mobile operator is CHEO Technology, which offers services under the Koryolink brand. Citing the head of North Korea’s mobile telecoms department, Choe Un, the report also added that the state plans to produce its own handsets – currently manufactured in China – within the next six months.

According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, CHEO was awarded a 25-year licence to operate a 3G network in January 2008, with the first four years on an exclusive basis. It is owned by Orascom Telecom Holding of Egypt (75%) and state-owned Korea Post and Telecoms Corporation (25%). Services were launched in December 2008 in the capital Pyongyang, but the network has since been expanded to include the main road running up to the northern city of Hyangsan, with the company currently working on expanding services nationwide.

Yonhap asserts that the Choson Sinbo piece claims the DPRK will start manufacturing mobile phones:

“Within half a year, handphone terminals will begin to be produced,” the paper said. “For a certain time, parts will be imported from overseas and assembled, but eventually the prospect is that development will be self-sufficient.”

The report said equipment for mobile service has been set up in more than half of the cities and counties in the country, adding the service will also be used on major roads and railways.

If a reader can send me a link to the original Choson Sinbo artilce I would appreciate it.  I have troubles navigating that site.

Here are previous posts about North Korea’s mobile phone networks and Orascom.


One Response to “DPRK to produce mobile phones”

  1. Jim says:

    Korean version here:

    Japanese version here:

    As far as I can make out, the website stopped publishing English translations a few years ago.

    According to the Japanese version, the 3G service that was launched in December 2008 has so far only offered normal calls and SMS, but “technical problems are now to be solved,” and video, music downloads and video calls will now become available.

    There’s also a bit towards the end about the Choson Computer Centre (KCC) developing games for mobile phones, particularly “intelligent games” such as shogi and go. These are particularly popular among the younger generation and are also being sold abroad.