total subscriptions: 1.2 million (2021 est.)
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 5 (2021 est.)
total subscriptions: 6 million (2021 est.)
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 23 (2021 est.)
general assessment: despite years of isolationism, economic under-achievement, and international sanctions, North Korea has improved its telecommunications infrastructure in the last decade; Inconsistent electric power supply and likely difficulties procuring new hardware, however, present enduring obstacles to building reliable high-speed telecom networks; mobile phone use is estimated to have increased to nearly 25% of the polulation as of 2018, yet the high cost of ownership makes mobile communications inaccessible to North Koreans of lower socioeconomic status; strict regime censorship and monitoring of telecom systems in North Korea restricts users from legally contacting anyone outside the country or accessing the global Internet; for those citizens living close to China, it has been possible to illegally obtain Chinese handsets and SIM cards, and to connect to towers located just across the border; while this offers access to the outside world and at much lower prices than the state-controlled offerings, the risks are high including steep fines and the possibility of jail time; North Korea has been effective in building an IT sector and a nascent digital economy on the back of a concerted effort to grow a sizeable, well-trained IT workforce; but even here, its capabilities have been directed more towards nefarious activities such as cyber crime and hacking into foreign countries’ computer and financial systems; North Korea’s determination to maintain ideological control of its populace by isolating itself from the rest of the world will probably lead to tighter controls on communications inside and outside of the country (2023)
domestic: fixed-lines are approximately 5 per 100 and mobile-cellular 23 per 100 persons (2021)
international: country code - 850; satellite earth stations - 2 (1 Intelsat - Indian Ocean, 1 Russian - Indian Ocean region); other international connections through Moscow and Beijing
no independent media; radios and TVs are pre-tuned to government stations; 4 government-owned TV stations; the Korean Workers' Party owns and operates the Korean Central Broadcasting Station, and the state-run Voice of Korea operates an external broadcast service; the government prohibits listening to and jams foreign broadcasts (2019)
NOTE: The information regarding Korea North on this page is re-published from the 2023 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency and other sources. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Korea North 2023 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Korea North 2023 should be addressed to the CIA or the source cited on each page.
This page was last modified 06 Dec 23, Copyright © 2023 ITA all rights reserved.