Is it true that there are no mobile phones in North Korea? I have heard opposing views saying that there is a working mobile network that many people use and views that say there isn't any of them in the whole country.

  • 4
    I like this question, but it should reference - and ideally quote - an independent source of the claim (e.g. a newspaper article). Apr 14, 2013 at 12:44
  • You can find some references from wikipedia article on a matter and on a mobile provider page Apr 14, 2013 at 12:54
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    @defaultlocale: You have all the ingredients of an answer there...
    – Oddthinking
    Apr 14, 2013 at 13:14
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    When I visited 2 years ago, people had cell phones. Visitors were not allowed to have theirs (they were kept at the border). I only visited the main cities.
    – the_lotus
    Apr 15, 2013 at 20:44

3 Answers 3


More clarification of international calls from North-Korea is given here, dated March 27, 2013.

“3G access is no longer available for tourists to the DPRK. Sim cards can still be purchased to make international calls but no internet access is available,” the Beijing-based North Korean tourism specialist said in a short notice on its website.

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    Does this answer the question?
    – Oddthinking
    Apr 17, 2013 at 6:33

According to a recent BBC article

At the start of 2012 Koryolink claimed to have one million 3G subscribers.

Koryolink being North Koreas only 3G operator.

According to the same BBC article:

The service can only be used to make voice calls, and all international calls are banned.

However tourists and visitors can use mobile data.

This blog post from Google's Eric Schmidt also supports the view that while North Korea's mobile infrastructure is extremely limited, it does exist.


It seems clear from the wikipedia page that there are plenty of mobile phones. The issue of being able to make international calls is a different matter, but my original question seems answered.

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    So, why not award an answer? That would be helpful to others reaading this in future
    – Mawg
    May 2, 2017 at 10:26

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