N Korea launches mobile 'internet'

Limited service allows users to browse single portal showing news from state media.

    North Korea is one of the few countries where internet access is virtually non-existent [GALLO/GETTY]

    At the time of launch Orascom said it planned to invest about $400m in the North Korean mobile network, beginning in the capital, Pyongyang, and rolling out the service across the country.

    The service is restricted to government approved customers with handsets costing around $700 each, putting them well beyond the reach of all but a very few North Koreans.

    According to recent reports the number of subscribers to the new service had hit 20,000 by the end of March, and was continuing to grow.

    'Black hole'

    North Korea is one of the few countries in the world where internet access is virtually non-existent.

    Reporters Without Borders, the Paris-based anti-censorship body, has dubbed North Korea the world's number one "internet black hole".

    The country's designated domain suffix ".kp" is largely unused, although a handful of senior officials and government departments are believed to have internet access via a pipeline into China.

    Kim Jong-il, the North Korean leader, is believed to frequently browse the web through his own connection.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    How different voting systems work around the world

    How different voting systems work around the world

    Nearly two billion voters in 52 countries around the world will head to the polls this year to elect their leaders.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    The great plunder: Nepal's stolen treasures

    The great plunder: Nepal's stolen treasures

    How the art world's hunger for ancient artefacts is destroying a centuries-old culture. A journey across the Himalayas.