From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Joint venture
Industry Telecommunication
Founded 2008
Headquarters Pyongyang
Area served
Pyongyang, and five additional cities and eight highways and railways.
Products Telephony, Mobile Network Access
Revenue US$ 5.8 million[citation needed]
Parent Orascom Telecom Media and Technology Holding (75%) Korea Post and Telecommunications Corporation
Website intranet Homepage Kwangmyung

Koryolink (Korean: 고려링크, styled as koryolink) is a North Korean wireless telecommunications provider. A joint venture between Orascom Telecom Media and Technology Holding (OTMT) and the state-owned Korea Post and Telecommunications Corporation (KPTC), Koryolink started in 2008 and was the first 3G mobile operator in North Korea.[1] It offers service in Pyongyang and five additional cities as well as along eight highways and railways. Phone numbers on the network are prefixed with +850 (0)1912. Despite being a 3G network, there is no Internet access (only Intranet access) for domestic users. Although as of April 2014, mobile internet access for foreigners with limited speed or traffic amount was available at a comparably high price.[2]


Woman using Koryolink mobile phone network in Pyongyang

Orascom Telecom Holding was awarded the license to establish a 3G mobile network in North Korea in January 2008. Koryolink has deployed its 3G network to initially cover Pyongyang, which has a population of more than two million people, with an ambitious plan to expand its coverage to the entire country.

At network launch in December 2008, the network had 5,300 subscribers.[3] Orascom reported 432,000 North Korean subscribers after two years of operation (December 2010),[4] increasing to 809,000 by September 2011,[5] and exceeding one million by February 2012.[6] By April 2013, subscriber numbers neared two million.[7]

In 2015 subscriber numbers exceeded three million and the network was profitable. However, the Government of North Korea refused permission to transfer profits from North Korea to Orascom and even started a second carrier (Kangsong Net) to compete with Koryolink.[8] As result Orascom in its financial result reported, that it lost control over Koryolink's activities.[1][9]

Only calls within North Korea are allowed on Koryolink. However, smuggled phones have been used just over the border in China to International Direct Dialing.[10]

Use by foreigners[edit]

On February 26, 2013, Koryolink launched its internet service for foreigners[11] On March 29, 2013, Koryolink restricted internet service for foreigners.[12]


  1. ^ a b Williams, Martyn (18 November 2015). "How a telecom investment in North Korea went horribly wrong". Network World. Retrieved 13 March 2016. 
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-04-14. Retrieved 2014-04-12. 
  3. ^ "North Korean Economy Watch » Orascom Telecom Holding". Nkeconwatch.com. Retrieved 2017-04-26. 
  4. ^ Orascom Telecom Holding First Quarter 2011 Results Archived 2012-04-12 at the Wayback Machine., page 29, Orascomtelecom.com (accessed 20 May 2011)
  5. ^ Orascom Telecom Holding Third Quarter 2011 Results Archived 2012-04-15 at the Wayback Machine., page 30 Orascomtelecom.com (accessed 28 April 2012)
  6. ^ Alaa Shahine (2 February 2012). "Orascom Telecom Media Shares Jump After North Korea Announcement". Bloomberg. Retrieved 15 October 2012. 
  7. ^ "North Korea embraces 3G service". BBC. 26 April 2013. Retrieved 18 May 2013. 
  8. ^ Ricks, Thomas E.; Kim, Yonho (2016-03-17). "North Korea's silent hard currency source: That cellphone business with Orascom". Foreign Policy. Retrieved 2017-04-27. 
  9. ^ Lankov, Andrei (6 February 2017). "The limits of North Korea's meager economic growth". NK News. 
  10. ^ Lee, Dave (2015-05-29). "Bureau 121: How good are Kim Jong-un's elite hackers?". BBC News. Retrieved 2017-04-27. 
  11. ^ Park Seong Guk (26 February 2013). "Daily NK - Koryolink Mobile Internet Launched". Daily NK. Retrieved 6 April 2013. 
  12. ^ Cho Jong Ik (29 March 2013). "Daily NK - Tourist Internet Cut after a Month". Daily NK. Retrieved 6 April 2013. 

External links[edit]