North Korea To Get Its First National Mobile Phone Network

Kim Jong Il may be on his deathbed, but now he can easily order via mobile phone more rare stewed peacock meat to be delivered to him via horseback while the theme from the Godfather plays.

Yes, even though North Korea's roads are empty, its people tragically impoverished, its Internet connectivity practically nil, the country will soon be getting a brand new mobile phone network. After a train explosion in 2004—thought to be an attempt on the dear leader's life—mobile phones have been banned in North Korea with stiff punishments (some even say execution) for those caught with a phone.

But now, the Egyptian telecom giant Orascom will build an all-new network covering Pyongyang and other major cities. The contract is rumoured to be worth around $US400 million for Orascom, who has a lock on the rogue and semi-rogue state network business having also built Zimbabwe's network for Robert Mugabe. [The Inquirer]

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