Thursday, January 27, 2011

North Korea cell phone users top 300,000 in 2010

The number of cell phone subscribers in North Korea grew more than fourfold in the year through September, according to an Egyptian carrier operating in the country. Subscribers can communicate across about 70 percent of the country's residential areas now that sufficient base stations have been built, according to the sources.

Orascom Telecom Holding said it had more than 300,000 subscribers in the country in September, compared with about 180,000 in late June and about 70,000 at the end of September 2009. The carrier began operating the service in North Korea in late 2008.

Although the spread of cell phone use could loosen Pyongyang's grip on information control, officials are reluctant to close down the business because it brings much-needed cash to a state-run company that holds a 25-percent stake in the cellular network, sources close to Pyongyang said.


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