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North Korea to offer mobile internet access to foreigners

Posted on Feb 23, 04:06PM | IANS

Pyongyang, Feb 23 : Foreigners who live in North Korea will soon be allowed access to mobile internet starting Monday, a technician told Xinhua Saturday.

"You will be able to tweet, Skype and surf the internet from your own cellphones, iPads and other mobile devices as soon as you register at the Korean Communication Center," said an unnamed technician from the Korean-Egyptian joint venture company Koryolink.

"We will provide both a USB modem and your SIM card to get access to Internet. (It) costs 75 euro and 150 euro upon registration, with different levels of charge standard, from 400 euro/10G, 250 euro/5G, to 150 euro/2G for USB and 10 euro for SIM card per month," he said.

"We have tried more than one year to negotiate with the Korean side, and got the approval recently," said the technician.

However, North Korean citizens will still not have access to the mobile internet service or make international calls.

The announcement came one month after North Korea began allowing foreigners to bring their own cellphones into the country to purchase Koryolink-made SIM cards, at the airport or at Koryolink shops for 50 euros ($70).

Calls abroad range from 0.38 euros a minute to Switzerland and France, and more than 5 euros a minute to the US. Calls to South Korea still remain prohibited.

"Since the number of foreign residents here are limited, we will try to get more permission from the Korean security side to launch more services for short time tourists coming here for travel," he said.

Though the charge is comparatively expensive, we are excited about the relaxation of controls on communication, said a Nepalese resident who added that it will be more convenient for them to work in the country.

There are 1.8 million North Koreans using 3G cellphones across the country. However, North Koreans and foreigners can not make calls to each other.