Koryolink changes numbers for Kim Il Sung's birth year

Kang Mi Jin  |  2015-11-25 10:04
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Koryolink, one of two major telecommunications providers in North Korea, has recently amended its number assignment policy to incorporate Kim Il Sungs birth year, Daily NK has learned. 

Koryolink, a joint venture with the Egypitan company Orascom, provides service for inland regions including Pyongyang while Kangsung Net services more northern areas such as Yanggang and both Hamgyong Provinces. 

Areas serviced by Koryolink, which includes Pyongyang, have phone numbers beginning with 191 (191O-OOO-OOO), while areas that are under the service provider Kangsung Net have phone numbers beginning with 195 (195O-OOO-OOO). But recently, according to a Daily NK source in the capital, as part of a propaganda campaign to celebrate Kim Il Sungs year of birth--1912--the authorities have required that Koryolink add a 2 to the end of its 191 numbers so that all citizens have phone numbers beginning with 1912. 

Daily NK crosschecked this information with an additional source in Pyongyang. 

She added that this change will also apply to foreign residents.

The southern areas, such as South Hamgyeong Province, have many Koryolink subscribers with 191 numbers, although the northern areas including North Hamgyong Province are primarily serviced by Kangsung Net, so phone numbers beginning with 195 are the norm there. Although the services available through each provider, including access to the Party-run publication Rodong Sinmun, are nearly identical, Kangsung Net is slightly cheaper and thus preferred by customers. 

Kangsung Nets service comes with a base rate of 200 minutes, and there is a charge of 30 KPW for exceeding this limit. In addition, subscribers to Koryolink must use a foreign currency card in order to purchase additional minutes. Kangsung Net allows subscribers to pay their phone bills in local currency--an increasingly rare case amid a prevalence of and preference for foreign currencies. 

Koryolink subscribers must pay a fee of 3000 KPW [0.35 USD] each quarter, which comes out to an average of 1000 KPW [0.12 USD] more than what Kangsung Net subscribers pay. The first 200 minutes of phone calls are free, but for citizens who run businesses or do other commercial activities, this is often inadequate. As a result, many people purchase cards worth about 12,000-25,000 KPW [1.40-2.90 USD] to make phone calls. 

Meanwhile, as previously reported by Daily NK, cell phone coverage for domestic networks now extends into China.

*Translated by Natalie Grant

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