It hasn’t even been a month, and reports are already coming in that North Korea has cut its visitor-only 3G Internet connection, which went live the beginning of March. It seems those with a smartphone, which is still allowed in the country following the recently changed laws, can still make international phone calls (except to South Korea), but can no longer share content or access the Internet via a mobile data connection.
Originally, visitors to North Korea could purchase a SIM card from Koryolink from either the airport or a Koryolink retail store. Despite the very high rates for data, which are reported to be 150 Euros per 2GB, images from within the nation began to hit Instagram and other social networks within days, such as the one featured above. The videos and images sparked quite a bit of international attention, as was expected.
Perhaps the quantity of content being published by visitors spooked North Korea, because it hasn’t even been a month, and the mobile broadband connection has already been taken down. Nothing official was said about the change, and it is possible the change is only temporary, prompted by some government tweaking or perhaps a technical issue. Only time will tell if it goes back up or not.
Word has it that long-term visitors can still access the mobile network, and if that is the case, it would seem the move was intentional, and that short-term visitors are out of luck. The SIM cards can still be purcahsed from the airport and retail stores for about $70 USD, and international phone calls will cost visitors about 5 Euros per minute, which isn’t too bad, but still a substantial price tag.