North Korea


The Egyptian investment in North Korea surprised many. But Naguib Sawiris expressed confidence when I heard him talk about it in Barcelona a few years back. Apparently making good profits was possible, but what value are profits that cannot be repatriated? The Egyptian operator rolled out North Korea’s sole mobile network in 2008 as a joint venture with the state-owned Korea Post and Telecommunications Corporation (KPTC). Orascom owns 75% of Koryolink, which has 3 million subscribers.
Intercom was a small telephone network, which allowed calling strictly within the office. That was the Jurassic era of telecommunication when the dinosaurs state-owned incumbents mercilessly harassed the consumers. At that time the ‘sophisticated’ office automation equipment called intercom was a ‘must have’ gadget across the public and private enterprises. Speakerphone or hands-free calling feature was intercom’s jewel in the crown. Unlike the rotary-dial PSTN phones, the “trendy” intercom sets were fitted with a push-button keypad.
The Orascom owned mobile operator in North Korea has issued its two millionth SIM. Naguib Sawiris, Executive Chairman of OTMT, commented saying: “When we first acquired the license in North Korea, people thought the service will only be provided to a few privileged individuals. We are very proud today to witness our subscriber base in North Korea increasing at a growing rate, emphasizing the right of the North Korean citizens in DPRK to communicate.” It is worth noting that through recent decisions of the North Korean government restrictions on availing internet connections through mobile phones for foreign visitors have been reduced, allowing Koryolink to also offer some data services through its network.
The country with the worst ICT connectivity happens to be in our region, the Asia Pacific. But Google’s Eric Schmidt, again demonstrating the value of engagement, appears to have opened the door another few milimeters, according to IHT: North Korea will finally allow Internet searches on mobile devices and laptops. But if you’re a North Korean, you’re out of luck — only foreigners will get this privilege. Cracking the door open slightly to wider Internet use, the government will allow a company called Koryolink to give foreigners access to 3G mobile Internet service by March 1, The Associated Press reported. The decision, announced Friday, comes a month after Google’s chairman, Eric E.
North Korea was, until recently, the country with the least mobile phones. Then it gave a license (3G no less) to Orascom. Now it has a million plus mobiles connections. The New York Times speculates that the presence of a million mobiles has made the big blatant lie no longer a viable option for the rulers of the hermit kingdom. Mr.
For the longest time Myanmar was not at the bottom of the world mobile rankings. That was because North Korea had a lock on that slot. Now North Korea has zoomed ahead, according to Reuters. Time for Myanmar to issue a few licenses. Preferably more than one.
It is disappointing to see sirens still being promoted despite the demonstrated problems. And I think Kogami was present at the HazInfo dissemination event we held in Jakarta. Patra Rina Dewi, director of the Tsunami Alert Community (Kogami), a nongovernmental organisation working on disaster mitigation training for communities, said the knowledge people most need is whether an earthquake has the potential to become a tsunami. The current standard for this is an earthquake that occurs less than ten kilometres below the seafloor and is recorded as more than seven on the Richter scale. “But this kind of information should be translated into easy information for the people,” said Patra.
Some governments shut down telecom networks including the Internet to control dissent. Others do not. What are the conditions that give rise to the former action? Why do others not do this? Israel never shuts down telecom networks but Sri Lanka does.
An Egyptian company said it will launch 3G mobile telephone service in North Korea on Monday, after winning the contract to build the advanced network in a country where private cell phones are banned. Under the terms of the deal reached in January, Orascom Telecom will invest $400 million in network infrastructure and license fees over the first three years to develop the network. Orascom said it was the first foreign telecommunications company to be awarded a North Korean commercial telecommunications license. It was not clear what restrictions, if any, would be imposed on the network, which provides data capabilities as well as phone services. Ordinary North Koreans are forbidden from having cellular phones, and the government maintains strict controls over Internet access.
In one of the two websites it runs, Telecommunication Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka (TRCSL) gives its mission statement – which is cut and pasted below: “To create the optimum conditions for the telecommunications industry in Sri Lanka by serving the public interest in terms of quality, choice and value for money; the service providers with equitable access to spectrum and other common resources; and the nation in its drive for socio-economic advancement through a skilled and ethical workforce.” We are surprised to see pornography not mentioned – considering the latest task TRCSL has been assigned  –  blocking porno. Lankadeepa reports only about blocking pornographic movies and video clips, not images. Assumed strict enforcement, this can lead to the ban of not just YouTube but Gmail and Yahoomail also, because pornography videos can easily be distributed via e-mail. For the record, except for few countries including Cuba and North Korea, which had restricted Internet access in full (not just porno sites) no country in general blocks porno sites.
In what can only be described as a surprise announcement, Egypt’s Orascom Telecom Holding (OTH) says that it has been granted a 3G phone license in North Korea.   Orascom says that it intends to invest up to US$400 million in network infrastructure and license fee over the first three years. OTH intends to cover Pyongyang and most of the major cities during the first 12 months of operations. Read more.
Two publications, with chapters by LIRNEasia researcher Chanuka Wattegama, were launched during the GK3, third global Knowledge conferences held in Kuala Lumpur in December, 2007. The biennial Digital Review of Asia Pacific is a comprehensive guide to the state-of-practice and trends in information and communication technologies for development (ICT4D) in Asia Pacific. The third edition (2007/2008) covers 31 countries and economies, including North Korea for the first time. Each country chapter presents key ICT policies, applications and initiatives for national development. In addition, five thematic chapters provide a synthesis of some of the key issues in ICT4D in the region, including mobile and wireless technologies, risk communication, intellectual property regimes and localization.
Rohan Samarajiva  | LankaBusinessOnline Fixed or Mobile      March 28, 2007 (LBO) – It seems like a no-brainer: A mobile phone is better than a fixed phone, especially in Sri Lanka. The costs of getting a connection are lower: a new phone and SIM can cost as little as LKR 4,000, while SLTL charges around LKR 20,000 for a fixed connection and its competitors charge around LKR 10,000.   Mobile phones are easy to use. They have built in directories and allow texting, though now these features are now available on the fixed CDMA phones as well. Calling people instead of places that people are associated with seems obviously better, unless you don’t want to be reached.
North Korea is part of Asia. LIRNEasia should at least think about this strange country as it goes about its work. The connectivity of North Korea is described below: The Internet Black Hole That Is North Korea – New York Times “This is an impoverished country where televisions and radios are hard-wired to receive only government-controlled frequencies. Cellphones were banned outright in 2004. In May, the Committee to Protect Journalists in New York ranked North Korea No.