North Korea Opens The Door To Mobile Internet—For Foreigners

The scheme will give 3G connectivity to tourists and non-DPRK nationals "no later than March 1."

Mobile Internet is coming to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. The news was announced this morning, but with one large caveat: The service, courtesy of local provider Koryolink, will only be available to foreigners. So, visitors such as Eric Schmidt, who undertook a three-day visit last month, will be able to do as they do in their own countries, only slower. The rogue state, which has been busy sending rockets up into space while exploding nuclear devices below ground, to the unease of the rest of the world, already has one famous smartphone user: its leader, Kim Jong Un.

It's the second such relaxation of rules governing mobile devices in as many weeks. Until recently, tourists were made to hand in their cellphones on arrival, meaning a communication-free stay, before the authorities allowed them to use their devices, provided they used a SIM card provided by local provider Koryolink, which is meant to enjoy a monopoly but, thanks to smugglers, residents who live in border areas can use mobile phones brought in from China, on Chinese networks.

[Image by Flickr user (stephan)]

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