North Korea rolls out 4G service with secondhand Huawei equipment

North Korean authorities have commenced the enrollment of 4G subscribers following the country’s upgrade of its network through the acquisition of secondhand telecommunications equipment, primarily sourced from China’s Huawei.

As reported by the local news site Daily NK, the construction of 4G cell towers has been successfully concluded in certain regions of the country, with the ambitious target of establishing more than 80% of planned cell towers by 2025.

Presently, 4G services are predominantly accessible in the central districts of the capital, Pyongyang.

”Individuals who have opted for the new network express satisfaction with the signal quality, experiencing no disruptions while browsing the intranet or enjoying multimedia content,” conveyed an unnamed source to Daily NK.

Nonetheless, the source highlighted that the signal tends to dissipate when users venture far from a base station. Consequently, North Koreans are opting to delay their subscription to the new network until 4G coverage extends substantially across the entire country. Notably, mobile devices in North Korea lack the automatic transition to 3G in areas with weak 4G signals.

“People equipped with 4G devices are retaining their 3G counterparts, utilizing both phones concurrently,” disclosed anonymous sources to local media. This development transpires amidst government assurances of robust 4G coverage, reaching previously inaccessible areas, including underground locations.

The most recent data from GSMA Intelligence reveals that around 28.3% of North Korea’s 26.2 million population possess a mobile connection, all of which are prepaid subscriptions, with only a quarter utilizing smartphones.

Luke Simmonds

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