Following news broken on this site that North Korea is allowing foreign tourists to keep their cellphones throughout tours of the country, NK NEWS can now exclusively reveal the pricing structure that network operator KoryoLink will be providing services at. Kyodo News have also published video of the first foreigners using the tourist service at Sunan airport:
By purchasing a Koryolink SIM card (currently only available at Pyongyang’s Sunan airport and soon at international class hotels), tourists will be able to make international calls from North Korea throughout their visit. But as had been expected, tourists will not be able to make calls to local Korean citizens on the domestic network.
Young Pioneers Tours today confirmed to NK NEWS that there will be three options for tourist SIM card use:
1. Purchase: These cards will be valid indefinitely and can be used for repeat visits. The cost for these will be 50 euro with a nominal amount of prepaid call money included.
2. Two Week SIM Card “rental”: Costing 50 euros, these cards can be used for two weeks before becoming invalid. They include 30 euro of prepaid service.
3. One month rentals: These cost 75 euro and include 55 euro of prepaid service.
- China and South East Asia- 1.43 Euro a minute
- Russia- 0.68 Euro a minute
- France and Switzerland- 0.38 Euro a minute
- UK and Germany- 1.58 Euro a minute
Other rates including the U.S have yet to be confirmed
Recent comments from Orascom Telecom (the Egyptian joint owner of KoryoLink) detail how tourists will have to reveal their devices IMEI number when purchasing their SIM cards. It is likely that this requirement is for security reasons, and that usage of the SIM card with devices possessing different IMEI numbers may trigger alerts to relevant North Korean authorities.
Despite the news it seems that internet access is not possible for tourists, with Xinhua reporting Saturday that the mobile Internet service for foreigners will be opened soon.
Up until recently, bringing mobile phones into North Korea had been strictly forbidden, with all handsets confiscated at customs and only returned on exit.
North Korea’s Korylink network is run by Egyptian firm Orascom Telecom and currently has 1.5 million subscribers. At present local users are not allowed to talk to foreigners using their devices either in-country or out of country.