North Korea Cellphones

A North Korean woman uses a cellphone on a sidewalk in Pyongyang, North Korea. Pic: AP.

PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) — North Korea is loosening its restrictions on foreign cellphones and is allowing visitors to bring their own phones into the country.

Officials from cellphone service provider Koryolink say visitors can rent phones or SIM cards at the airport to use in their own foreign phones. The SIM cards allow foreigners to make calls abroad, contact foreign embassies in Pyongyang, and ring international hotels. But the SIM cards do not allow them to call local North Koreans, and do not provide Internet access.

The policy reverses a longstanding rule requiring visitors to relinquish their foreign phones at the border. Koryolink has set up a rental booth at the Pyongyang airport.

Koryolink is a division of CHEO Technology, a joint venture between the Egyptian firm Orascom and the North Korean government.

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