About the Author
View more articles by Dagyum Ji
Dagyum Ji is a senior NK News correspondent based in Seoul. She previously worked for Reuters TV.
North Korean cellphone network operator Koryolink offers mobile data services with a variety of data-oriented price plans, a pamphlet obtained by NK News reveals.
Koryolink offers five different rates, which have differing membership fees, flat monthly fees, free data allowances and charges for additional usage.
The North’s telecommunication company also has different services based on whether customers pay in local or foreign currencies. Customers who use domestic domestic currency are allowed to use two different prepaid services, simply called type one and type two.
“The [domestic] subscribers pay 2,850 North Korean Won (KPW) as a flat quarter fee, and utilize information and telecommunication services by using the accumulated balance,” the pamphlet reads.
The current unofficial exchange rate is one euro to 8,000 KPW, according to the data obtained by NK News this mid-September, though the government set rate is around 140 KPW.
Type one users pay 15 KPW for a subscription fee and are exempted from the monthly fee. But they can only use the mobile services for three days without free data.
Regardless of which plan a customer has, all payments are made in advance, and users of type one and two pay 20 KPW for 500 KB data. But customers who apply for type two can enjoy 100 MB free data while paying higher membership rates and service fees.
Kyorolink raises membership and monthly bills for customers using foreign currencies, and provides three different rate plans: types 3, 4 and 5.
Among three foreign currency plans, type 5’s additional data usage fee is the cheapest whereas its monthly fee is the most expensive. The users of type 5 receive 5GB free data which is 10 times larger than type 3 subscribers.
The North’s mobile phone network operator appears to set the highest price for those who tend to use larger amounts of mobile data, which is a similar pricing strategy to those used by mobile operators in other countries, including South Korea’s SK Telecom.
All subscribers can check usage fees in real-time if they press “*990*#”, and all data usage should be paid in advance.
The procedure for joining is simple. Customers dial “*#i1A#”, and can subscribe to any of the five plans.
The pamphlet also listed websites that subscribers can access including state-run media outlets Rodong Sinmun and the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), in addition to online science resources.
Customers can also use the data plans to watch television, listen to music, read books, play games and take online courses of Kim Chaek University of Technology. Netflix-style video-on-demand services ‘Manbang’ is also available.
Featured Image: NK News