EXCLUSIVE: Foreigners Now Permitted To Carry Mobile Phones In North Korea

Change in national policy comes just days after Google chairman's visit
January 19th, 2013

UPDATE 1/20/13: Xinhua News add that for fifty euros, foreigners can now purchase a KoryoLink SIM card and make calls while in North Korea. Orascom Telecom also said that the new rules have nothing to do with the Google trip and are actually the result of recent negotiations.

NK NEWS can exclusively reveal that

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About the Author

Chad O'Carroll

Chad O'Carroll founded NK News in 2010. He is based in Washington, D.C.

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    I just wonder if the Kims, husband and wife, have the same restrictions…

  • extrat

    “Either way, coming so soon after the Google trip, it can be read as a
    signal of North Korea’s possible softening of its stance toward
    communication technology, and its increased interest in understanding
    the ways it can engage with advancements in the field.”
    Really? Come on.

    • kinokuniya

      they obviously are interested in technology so what’s your point?

      • extrat

        The piece highlights a small change to make things more convenient for tourists, whose phones lose their communications functions inside the country anyway. Which is fine, but the article then needlessly overreaches by suggesting that this is a sign of softening “toward
        communication technology, and its increased interest in understanding
        the ways it can engage with advancements in the field.” The regime is of course interested in technology but this move which really just looks designed to increase convenience for tourists is not a signal of an increase in that.

        The article would have also benefited by pointing out that foreigners living or doing business inside the country have long been allowed to carry actual working mobile phones (albeit ones that can only call outside the country) and that the KJU leadership is putting more emphasis on cracking down on illicit information flows inside the country.

  • http://twitter.com/JosephFerrisIII Amer in North Korea

    good job Young Pioneer Tours!

    • Edgar

      the guy from young pioneer tours is a rowdy drunk in my experience

  • Fred

    Interesting article. However, it is incorrect to say that American citizens may not take the train. I know an American citizen who did so last year.

    • Patrick

      Perhaps he/she has dual nationality? Because all the Americans in our group had to take the plane while the rest left the country by train.

    • SvenAarne Serrano

      That’s how I got on the train last January, dual USA – Finland. The view from the train was eye-opening, a lot of desperate people trying to get on and off the train, many with half-full bags of grain and rice.

  • http://www.facebook.com/htes28carney Seth Carney

    North korea is such a shit hole

    • SvenAarne Serrano

      So go away then and keep your comments to yourself. 24 million people had no choice where they were born and they deserve better.

  • Jay Ewe

    I don’t know what so many of you seem to expect (I gues most of you are from the US).
    What do expect of a country that has been clamped down for nearly 70 years? Throw the borders open and let all the rot of western culture (porn, corruption, organised crime etc) pour in? I’ve been taking prayer groups in since 2002 and can tell you it’s great to see the way that the iron control has been SLOWLY eased to date. Give them time. Don’t forget the West has also kept them tied down with control over what can be allowed in and out of the country.