Development of North Korean Telecommunications Network

Egypt‘s Orascom Telecom Holdings owns 75% of a joint venture with North Korea‘s Korea Posts and Telecomm Corporation (KPTC) that has the license to operate that country‘s only 3G mobile network.  The license was granted in December 2008. That same month, Orascom Telecom opened Ora Bank in Pyongyang as part of a joint venture with the North Korean government-owned Foreign Trade Bank.  Reports indicate that Orascom Telecom anticipated spending as much as $400 million on developing the network in the first three years of the license and that Orascom anticipates additional investments in the tourism, financial, transportation and other sectors of the country.  The joint Orascom/KPTC company offers censored wireless services to North Koreans and, reportedly, ‘‘‘uncensored‘ services to foreigners paying $100 for a Wi-Fi hot spot, $200 for a SIM card and $300 for 2GB of data.