North Korea intends to lift the ban on mobile phones. There have been signals in some areas

    Our reporter Jin Dongguang


    Japan’s "Tokyo News" reported on February 18 that Pyongyang, North Korea, will lift the ban on the use of mobile phones in April. "Tokyo News" quoted the statement of North Korean officials in the report, and the Korean media believed that the news was highly credible.


    In the past two days, South Korean media have reported that the ban on the use of mobile phones in North Korea is expected to be lifted from the capital Pyongyang in the near future.


    Egyptian companies operate exclusively.


    On January 30th, local time, horace Come Telecom announced that its subsidiary CHEO Technology and North Korea Post and Telecommunications Company would cooperate in mobile phone business and mobile phone network construction. North Korea will own 25% shares of CHEO Technology.


    According to the agreement reached between the two parties, horace Come Company will operate the mobile phone business throughout North Korea in the next 25 years, including the exclusive right to operate for four years. Najib, chairman and CEO of the company, said that entering the North Korean market is an important part of the company’s advocacy of "entering a country with a large population and a low degree of mobile phone market development". Horace Kom Company plans to provide mobile phone service to Pyongyang and other major cities in North Korea in one year.


    The ban on mobile phones is expected to be lifted, which will make life more convenient for Pyongyang citizens, and this is even more good news for foreigners working and living in Pyongyang. South Korean media said that the reopening of the sensitive mobile phone service industry in North Korea can be regarded as a "positive signal".


    Mobile phones used to be a status symbol.


    In fact, as early as November 2002, North Korea started mobile phone business in Pyongyang and some areas.


    It is understood that it cost a lot of money to buy a mobile phone at that time. The price of bare metal is more than $ 200-700, and it will cost about $1,500 with network access and formalities. This price is undoubtedly a "sky-high price" for the average North Korean. Coupled with the high telephone charges, few ordinary citizens buy their own mobile phones. At that time, most North Koreans who owned mobile phones were national cadres and trade department staff, and mobile phones were regarded as a symbol of identity and status by Pyongyang people for quite some time.


    In April, 2004, the North Korean government ordered that mobile phones be banned nationwide, and that anyone, whether domestic or foreign, found using them would be confiscated immediately. External analysis believes that the train explosion at Longchuan Railway Station in North Pyongan Province, not far from the border between China and North Korea, is an important reason for the North Korean government to ban mobile phones. Some foreign media also said that mobile phone fragments were found at the scene of the explosion.


    There are also some people who believe that the mobility and confidentiality of mobile phones are a security risk for North Korea and pose a greater "threat" to the North Korean government. In addition, some people with ulterior motives use mobile phones to do things that endanger the country and the government, such as smuggling and transmitting information. The North Korean government has to gradually increase the punishment for those who use mobile phones illegally.


    There has been a signal in some areas.


    Although the North Korean government prohibits the use of mobile phones, some parts of North Korea have always been able to receive foreign mobile phone signals. For example, Sinuiju, which is near the border between China and North Korea, can receive the cell phone signal of China Mobile, and it can also receive the cell phone signal of South Korea in Kaesong Industrial Park and Mount Kumgang, which are near South Korea.


    On December 12, last year, the DPRK and the ROK reached a consensus on allowing the use of wireless communication phones in Kaesong Industrial Park during the seventh general-level talks between the North and the South. The South Korean side called this a positive signal worthy of celebration. Korean communication companies are also very optimistic about the project prospects.


    Theoretically, the Korean mobile phone base station on the south side of the 38th parallel can completely cover Kaesong. The coverage of the base station is about 30-40 kilometers, while the linear distance from Panmunjom to Kaesong is only 8 kilometers. However, in the case of confrontation between the north and the south, South Korea is prohibited from transmitting cell phone signals to the DPRK. Even so, Kaesong Industrial Park can occasionally receive cell phone signals from South Korea, but the DPRK is not allowed to receive them.


    It is understood that the optical cables from Seoul to Kaesong and Seoul to Pyongyang owned by Korea Communications can also be used as lines connecting mobile phone base stations. In December last year, senior officials of the United Front Department of North Korea also visited the advanced service facilities such as videophone in the company’s research institute.


Editor: Wang Xu