Foreigners To North Korea To Get Uncensored 3G

Foreign visitors going to North Korea will be able to receive uncensored 3G data starting March 1.

Koryolink, a joint venture between Egyptian company Orascom Telecom Holding and North Korean state-owned Korea Post and Telecommunications Corporation (KPTC), has set up a 3G service for visitors into the country.

The service, which is not available to locals, won’t come cheap. A $100 Wi-Fi hotspot and $200 SIM card will be needed, after which 2 Gb of data will cost $300, and 10 Gb will run $525.

Phone calls abroad will cost $0.50 a minute to European countries like Switzerland and France, and $7 a minute to the U.S. Calls to South Korea, however, are blocked.

According to the AP, services typically banned like Twitter and Skype will be available on Koryolink’s network. North Koreans are blocked from the global Web, and only allowed some 3G services, such as MMS messaging and subscriptions to the state-run paper, Rodong Sinmun. Calls to foreign numbers are also blocked.

This news comes just after the country started to allow foreigners to bring their own phones into the country to use with Koryolink SIM cards. It’s not clear if the new uncensored service will be extended to SIM cards that are available to visitors, so you can skip buying the hotspot.

Koryolink is 75 percent owned by Orascom. Orascom has a 3G license in North Korea that was awarded in 2008. Its censored service to the locals had about 1 million subscribers as of February 2012. The country’s capital of Pyongyang has a population of about 2 million.