Mobile Phone Subscriptions Soar in N.Korea

The number of mobile phone subscribers in North Korea has skyrocketed over the past year.

According to Orascom Telecom, an Egyptian mobile service provider that operates North Korea's mobile network, subscriptions there soared by a whopping 420 percent from 123,000 in March 2010 to 535,133 as of the end of March this year.

The company's revenues from the network also jumped by 185 percent from a year earlier to US$25.8 million.

However, in the first quarter of this year average monthly usage per person declined from 5 hours 11 minutes to 4 hours 30 minutes on-year. This shows that newer subscribers are being cautious about their communications, suggesting that mobile usage is expanding from mostly high-ranking officials to some rich people.

englishnews@chosun.com / May 24, 2011 10:34 KST