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North Korean 3G Mobile Subscriptions Hit Half a Million

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the may-I-suggest-a-merger dept.

Cellphones 69

angry tapir writes "The number of 3G cellular subscriptions in North Korea passed half a million during the first quarter, according to the country's only 3G cellular operator. The Koryolink network had 535,133 subscriptions at the end of March, an increase of just over 100,000 on the end of December 2010."

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Yay! (5, Insightful)

gustgr (695173) | more than 3 years ago | (#36199870)

Great news, almost three times the number of people they have in slave camps [singularityhub.com] !

US: 2,000,000 in jail (4, Informative)

Zero return (1244780) | more than 3 years ago | (#36200220)

And a quarter of the number of people that the US has in jail.

Re:US: 2,000,000 in jail (3, Interesting)

Zontar The Mindless (9002) | more than 3 years ago | (#36200382)

And yet the US has only 13 times as many people.

Re:US: 2,000,000 in jail (5, Informative)

Hultis (1969080) | more than 3 years ago | (#36200490)

According to statistics from Wikipedia, 0.83% of North Korea's population lives in slave camps and 0.75% of the US population lives in prison. One could argue that slave camps are worse than prisons, but the numbers are very much comparable.

Re:US: 2,000,000 in jail (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36200844)

One could argue that conditions in slave camps are worse then prisons?

There is no argument.

NK - they dont arrest you, they arrest you, your children, and your parents. (3 generations is the standard approach to dissenters)
NK - there is only one punishment for breaking the labor camp rules, you are shot.

I'm not disagreeing that the US justice and penal systems have significant problems. However there is absolutely no comparison to the horror of north korea.

For fun - check out: http://movies.netflix.com/WiMovie/Kimjongilia/70113934

Re:US: 2,000,000 in jail (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36201482)

RIght, in the US you are selected out because of the color of your skin (arabic, brown, hairy), and first tortured ("waterboarded" and worse) for a year.
And you also got no right to a phone call, no right to defend yourself, no right to a judge, etc.
That's all gone since Cheney's law changes. The miniluv^WDHS can do whatever the fuck they want.

And the population of the US is nearly as brainwashed as the NK one.

In terms of brainwashing, the US technique is far superior, as you don't even have to oppress people for them to follow your bidding. They gladly oppress themselves, because you managed to tell them that that is "freedom".

Yes, you are still not there. But it's not that far walk you make it out to be. It's a small hop.

Is it 2007 again? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36202414)

The Obamessiah ended "enhanced interrogation techniques" and closed Gitmo.

So clearly anything wrong with America today is Dick Cheney's fault.

Re:US: 2,000,000 in jail (1)

Xacid (560407) | more than 3 years ago | (#36202548)

Prison != Gitmo.

Re:US: 2,000,000 in jail (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36205826)

From a law standpoint, it is. They just haven't used their "rights" yet, as people aren't yet scared enough to accept it. Yet.

Re:US: 2,000,000 in jail (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36203536)

You're retarded. If you want to talk about the US military prison camps, you're talking about 0.00000162% of the population.

Re:US: 2,000,000 in jail (1)

CtownNighrider (1443513) | more than 3 years ago | (#36212212)

last i checked I can go to my state capitol (Albany) and hold up a sign that says "FUCK THE GOVERNOR" and I won't end up in a secret CIA prison.

Re:US: 2,000,000 in jail (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36314204)

Yeah? You might want to check that again.

Re:US: 2,000,000 in jail (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36201938)

Sorry, you overshot by an order of magnitude: 13 * 2,000,000 = 26 million. There are 309 million people in the US [census.gov] as of July 2010.
And 309 / 2 is around 150 times, so it's a far cry from saying that 1 in 10 americans is in jail.

Rather than a 10 percent atrocity, like those US unemployment numbers we all know, these convicts are 1/2 of 1 percent :). Still, it's a lot of people considering that a standing-room only commuter train in Manhattan (say, 50 people per car times 10 cars) statistically likely to hold an ex-prisoner or a future con with who-knows-what behavior.

Re:US: 2,000,000 in jail (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36203786)

The US population is about 300 000 000. The North Korean population is about 26 000 000.

Dividing one by the other yields a bit less than 13.

Re:US: 2,000,000 in jail (5, Insightful)

thaig (415462) | more than 3 years ago | (#36200982)

And a quarter of the number of people that the US has in jail.

These are political prisoners, not ordinary every day thieves or drug dealers.

http://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/images-reveal-scale-north-korean-political-prison-camps-2011-05-03 [amnesty.org]

Interesting how ready people are to rush to the defence of anything to bash the US. I'm a Zimbabwean in the UK, BTW and I regularly hear people defending Mugabe, presumably because they think he's left wing and anti American. There is some incredible loss of perspective, unfortunately but also demonstrates how little anyone really cares about "the poor people in X" when compared to making some political point at home.

Re:US: 2,000,000 in jail (3, Insightful)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | more than 3 years ago | (#36201136)

Many thieves and drug dealers are political prisoners. "Political prisoner" is just a euphemism for "does something which I think should be permissible but they don't". To a libertarian, anyone jailed for not paying taxes may be a political prisoner; to a militant Irish republican, The Maze was full of political prisoners; to a communist, anyone jailed for taking enough bread to eat is a political prisoner. AI has tried to use the alternative term "prisoner of conscience", but even that definition is dangerous, excepting those who condone "violence" but not really explaining what counts as violence and what counts as condoning it.

As for "I'm a Zimbabwean in the UK", that's how you self-identify. To another Zimbabwean, you might be an exiled ex-occupier. The "incredible loss of perspective" is by the international Western media condemning Mugabe as if he were operating alone, controlling a whole country, while forgetting that every regime can only exist thanks to the support of a significant number of local residents. Some people would rather suffer extreme hardship than live in a country dominated by a few colonial landowners. Similarly, some people would rather live isolated under a military or religious dictatorship than under a US puppet government. Maybe you don't feel this. Maybe you prefer the security of living in the West. Maybe long lifespan, good nutrition and a warm house are to you of primary importance. Maybe you put yourself before some perceived need of your "people", whoever your people may be. But the first mistake anyone in the West makes in this sort of debate is to assume that everyone wants this too.

So, recognising the nastiness Mugabe's men get up to, how about asking yourself: why is it that conditions were so bad in Zimbabwe that Mugabe ended up in power? What could those with power/money/influence have done to compromise? Consider how Britain handled the IRA: in the end, it had to mean listening to their grievances rather than continually dismissing their opinions and their belief in a right to some of your power.

Re:US: 2,000,000 in jail (3, Insightful)

thaig (415462) | more than 3 years ago | (#36201428)

Hi,

You're letting your politics choose bad friends for you and it's not a good idea because it means that without thought or consideration you choose to be on the side of some very bad people. Everyone has choices including the people in charge of the DPRK and my home too and if we wound back the problems of life far enough we'd find that the DPRK helped Mugabe, for example, or that Henry Kissenger helped Mugabe or that his mum wasn't nice to him or whatever. But I don't blame Mugabes behaviour on them.

The way you are trying to compare two very different things to try and bash the US or mitigate the DPRK is a loss of perspective and it's usually the stuff one reads in government controlled newspapers in the kind of place I'm from. It relies on people not really knowing what immense freedoms there are in the civilised world and on people from the civilised world not having the tiniest inkling what it's really like to live in a police state. I wonder if you have ever felt that you can't say what you think at a party of friends because you're not sure whether some of them have relatives in the secret police? I have.

This is why it makes me feel ill to see such, frankly and to be kind, silly comparisons. I

Unfortunately, I have now put you in a position where you have to argue on the side of even more horrible people in order to try and win the argument. But if you do then you're just making the same mistake even more thoroughly. Meanwhile people who have courage or morals or a sense of decency that got them into trouble are getting beaten and starved quietly far beyond the reach of the BBC to exclaim on their woes and you just tried to make it sound ok.

Regards,

Tim

Re:US: 2,000,000 in jail (1, Insightful)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | more than 3 years ago | (#36201608)

(1) Mugabe and Kim are not my friends - just because I don't cheerlead for the West it doesn't mean I think that DPRK or Zimbabwe are suitable alternatives;

(2) If you take the time to read my post you'll note that I'm concentrating on the supporters of Mugabe and Kim and suggesting that you study what they want rather than what you, Mugabe and Kim want. The fact that you put it in terms of "winning the argument" between A and B suggests that you're here to promote your interests rather than to increase understanding;

(3) One half of my family was brought up in a "police state" - the idea that you get a free ride to express yourself in the West but the slightest peep elsewhere will get you lifetime in a labour camp is jingoistic fantasising. The West is great at hiding to Westerners how it treats its underclass, just as DPRK propaganda hides the full extent of its own behaviour, but it is as bad as anywhere [bbc.co.uk] - and recall that US prison population is similar to DPRK;

(4) Free speech is overrated anyway - all your opponent has to do is shout louder, as is the case in the US. I'd rather have the freedom of health than the freedom to shout "Jewish conspiracy!"

Re:US: 2,000,000 in jail (1)

jon3k (691256) | more than 3 years ago | (#36201710)

(4) how about both? just be even moderately successful at your job and have fantastic healthcare. the problem with healthcare in the US is a lack of coverage due to cost (read: poor cant afford coverage), it has nothing to do with availability or quality. And while I think we definitely need to reform healthcare, I'm sure not having any problems in the mean time. Mod me down as a troll if you want, but that's the reality.

So in summation, I think I'll take "freedom of health" (whatever that means) and "freedom of speech".

Re:US: 2,000,000 in jail (2)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | more than 3 years ago | (#36202830)

just be even moderately successful at your job and have fantastic healthcare. [...] it has nothing to do with availability or quality.

The rich have fantastic healthcare almost everywhere, regardless of underlying regime.

Re:US: 2,000,000 in jail (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36203604)

Because healthcare costs money. Doctors have to be able to provide for their families and have to feel like the hard work they do is worthwhile. Hospital staff have to provide for their families. Equipment and buildings have to be paid for to be built. You can't just wave a magic wand and provide healthcare; someone has to pay. Being rich puts you in a position to pay for a lot of things that other people can't afford. Not sure how better healthcare is any different than a better car or a bigger house.

Re:US: 2,000,000 in jail (1)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | more than 3 years ago | (#36203700)

Doctors have to be able to provide for their families and have to feel like the hard work they do is worthwhile.

It is worthwhile: they the satisfaction of complex challenges and saving lives. All the good doctors do it for this.

You can't just wave a magic wand and provide healthcare; someone has to pay.

Tax. Western European healthcare is so much better and cheaper than US healthcare for almost all procedures it's not even funny, and I say that as someone who has enjoyed US, UK and . Of course there are individual specialists who only operate in the US - and others only in the UK - and others only in Greece - and in any moderately developed country, regardless of underlying healthcare system. In each case, a non-resident must pay.

Not sure how better healthcare is any different than a better car or a bigger house.

There's your problem. Are you also not sure how better police protection against Thieves And Rapists[tm] is any different than a better car?

Re:US: 2,000,000 in jail (1)

jon3k (691256) | more than 3 years ago | (#36204206)

Only if they are rich enough to travel to a developed nation for treatment.

Re:US: 2,000,000 in jail (2)

wisty (1335733) | more than 3 years ago | (#36202024)

You are full of shit. A free marijuana activist who gets thrown in jail for speaking is a political prisoner. A deadbeat pothead dealer with free marijuana politics who happens to get busted is NOT a political prisoner. They may, in their addled minds, see themselves as victims of unjust policies, and perhaps they even are, but they are not in jail for their politics. They *might* be in jail *because* of their politics, but they had every choice to express their view, fight for their beliefs, but not actually break the law.

In North Korea, the act of expressing your views will get you sent to prison. Not "trading on the open market" (or whatever they call capitalist behavior), but expressing the view that doing so might be a good idea.

I don't have an easy answer for Zimbabwe. Unlike, say, Arafat, I don't really think Mugabe is a lessor evil, though.

Re:US: 2,000,000 in jail (2)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | more than 3 years ago | (#36202888)

Is it a US thing to teach "political crime" to mean the same thing as "crime of expressing an opinion"?

I guess that's a way for the US to claim that there are no political prisoners in the US, since, hey, the US (sorta mostly) has freedom of speech.

To quote Bierce, advice is the smallest current coin. Activism may begin with speech, but when you have been brought up to think that's where it ends, it's no surprise that nothing changes.

Re:US: 2,000,000 in jail (1)

t2t10 (1909766) | more than 3 years ago | (#36206958)

Is it a US thing to teach "political crime" to mean the same thing as "crime of expressing an opinion"?

A political prisoner is someone who is in jail for opposing or criticizing the government.

I guess that's a way for the US to claim that there are no political prisoners in the US, since, hey, the US (sorta mostly) has freedom of speech.

The US probably has a few "political prisoners": people who rubbed some part of local or national government the wrong way and ended up in jail because of legal bias even though they are innocent; the same is going to be true for the UK, France, Germany, Iceland, you name it. That situation is totally different from North Korea or other totalitarian regimes.

Activism may begin with speech, but when you have been brought up to think that's where it ends, it's no surprise that nothing changes.

Depending on what you stand for, you may well argue that committing a crime as part of activism is morally justified. However, when you get thrown in jail for that, you still are not a political prisoner, you're an activist who committed a crime and accepted the consequences.

Re:US: 2,000,000 in jail (1)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | more than 3 years ago | (#36207230)

Depending on what you stand for, you may well argue that committing a crime as part of activism is morally justified. However, when you get thrown in jail for that, you still are not a political prisoner, you're an activist who committed a crime and accepted the consequences.

I see. So a man who announces himself to be an unashamed homosexual, campaigns for an end to discrimination based on sexual orientation then receives the death penalty for having anal sex with his boyfriend is "not a political prisoner [but] an activist who committed a crime and accepted(!) the consequences".

You're an idiot.

Re:US: 2,000,000 in jail (1)

t2t10 (1909766) | more than 2 years ago | (#36220928)

I see. So a man who announces himself to be an unashamed homosexual, campaigns for an end to discrimination based on sexual orientation then receives the death penalty for having anal sex with his boyfriend is "not a political prisoner [but] an activist who committed a crime and accepted(!) the consequences".

He is certainly someone whose human rights are being violated and who deserves international support. He may also be a political prisoner, but that's really a separate question.

I mean, this may be hard for you to grasp, since you obviously don't give a shit about human rights, but there are people other than political prisoners who are in trouble and who need international support.

You're an idiot.

And you're simply an evil demagogue.

Re:US: 2,000,000 in jail (1)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | more than 2 years ago | (#36221192)

It may not be tactically appropriate to flout a law - you're not going to get anywhere good by walking around in Riyadh in a bikini - but a campaigner for gender equality who is arrested for walking around in Riyadh in a bikini is no less a political prisoner than one who is arrested merely for talking against gender inequality.

Your position appears to be that the only way to campaign is to speak. From your impotent, lazy view, campaigning by actually doing what you believe you should be able to do is not legitimate. Why is this? Do you have some sort of perverse respect for arbitrary power per se? Your snivelling kowtowing to authority ("accepted the consequences" indeed!) is something you need to sort out.

Re:US: 2,000,000 in jail (1)

t2t10 (1909766) | more than 3 years ago | (#36230326)

Ah, the typical argument by putting words in people's mouths and misrepresenting their positions. Good luck with that.

Re:US: 2,000,000 in jail (1)

the gnat (153162) | more than 3 years ago | (#36203754)

every regime can only exist thanks to the support of a significant number of local residents.

It doesn't actually need to be that large a number, if they're sufficiently well paid and they control all of the weapons. In the absence of widespread satisfaction with a regime, widespread terror will do just as well, as long as there's no limit to how many people you're willing to murder (deliberately or through sheer incompetence).

Some people would rather suffer extreme hardship than live in a country dominated by a few colonial landowners. Similarly, some people would rather live isolated under a military or religious dictatorship than under a US puppet government.

You speak as if they actually have a choice. Mugabe only respects election results when he wins them; for the last decade, the opposition in Zimbabwe has been constantly brutalized, their leaders arrested, beaten, or even murdered. The Kims never even won an election in the first place - they were installed by Stalin and never left. No one actually knows what the North Koreans really think (except for the defectors, who obviously hated it there), because they're not allowed to talk about it. To whatever extent they prefer their condition to that of South Korea, it's only because the government has been telling them how awful South Korea is in comparison for their entire lives - which hasn't been true for at least 30 years. I'm sure if you ask the South Koreans whether they'd prefer Kim Jong Il to their "US puppet government", they'll stare at you like you're crazy.

why is it that conditions were so bad in Zimbabwe that Mugabe ended up in power?

Mugabe ended up in power because he led the resistance to apartheid rule, and he stayed in power because he actually followed a reasonable course for the first two decades or so. Conditions were actually relatively good compared to the rest of Africa until he started the land grabs and became more overtly tyrannical. Most of the citizens still don't have land of their own; the redistribution has mostly enriched Mugabe's supporters. There was never a binary choice between poverty and continued white domination of agriculture; it could have been much different. It's only impoverished now because Mugabe deliberately chose the most destructive course of action, solely to ensure his continued rule.

Re:US: 2,000,000 in jail (1)

t2t10 (1909766) | more than 3 years ago | (#36206928)

Many thieves and drug dealers are political prisoners.

No, they are not.

"Political prisoner" is just a euphemism for "does something which I think should be permissible but they don't".

A political prisoner is in prison because they criticized or opposed the government of their own country. People who oppose the government and happen to be in jail aren't political prisoners. People who actually commit drug or property crimes in connection with government opposition aren't political prisoners.

For all its fault, equating the US prison system with the system of political imprisonment in North Korea and other totalitarian regimes is extremely naive of you. And if you want to go off criticizing the judicial branches of democracies, there are plenty of things wrong with the European systems as well.

costume jewelry (-1, Troll)

rongyun (2185250) | more than 3 years ago | (#36199894)

I was simply browsing for relevant blog articles intended for my project research and My partner and i happened to stumble on yours. Many thanks for this helpful material!costume Jewelry [costumejewelrytop.com]

Re:costume jewelry (2)

grif_91 (1674902) | more than 3 years ago | (#36200066)

I was unaware that the 3G phone use in North Korea was a relevant enough topic for a "project research". Nor that it had such a strong connection to costume "Jewelry". Must be some important jewelry if they make a proper noun out of it.

Propaganda networks for the propaganda villiages? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36199908)

I'm surprised that the North Korean nomenklatura even numbers in the hundreds of thousands. This has the vague odor of propaganda about it...

That would be mean 535,132 (2)

AmigaHeretic (991368) | more than 3 years ago | (#36199916)

more 3G cell phones than light bulbs in North Korea, no?

http://www.google.com/search?client=&rls=en&q=north+korea+satellite [google.com]

very strange....how do they recharge? (1)

decora (1710862) | more than 3 years ago | (#36202080)

its very strange indeed. how do they recharge their cellphones?

Re:very strange....how do they recharge? (1)

AmigaHeretic (991368) | more than 3 years ago | (#36202458)

I can't help but picture millions and millions of bamboo pedal power bikes from Gilligan's Island, like they used to keep their radio charged.

Sauce? (2)

atari2600a (1892574) | more than 3 years ago | (#36200016)

I follow KCNA's official news proxy on twitter & I see no mention of it. Did someone pick it up via a television broadcast or something?

Gees (1)

cyberfin (1454265) | more than 3 years ago | (#36200082)

Can you imagine the surveillance and tapping systems in place? I'm calculating a ratio line/surveillance person of approximately 1:1

NORTH Korea (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 3 years ago | (#36200114)

It's hard to even know what this means. North Korea, the country that doesn't even has electricity at night [irvinehousingblog.com] , manages to keep up a cell network, and a 3g cell network at that? What kind of internet are they accessing with 3G?

In any case, it seems that half a million subscribers is also about half the size of the N Korean army. Maybe that's who uses it.

Re:NORTH Korea (2)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 3 years ago | (#36200154)

Bribing the people in charge of the people in charge of The People is a small price to pay to stay in power. The cost of the phones plus the cost of the network (only in downtown Pyongyang no doubt) is probably around $100,000,000. Not chump change, but cheaper than a new battleship, and streches your "absolute dictator bribe money" dollar a lot further than a year's worth of rice for the peasants who are too weak and poor to revolt.
 
The same people getting phones now probably got color TVs in the 1980s.

Re:NORTH Korea (2)

xnpu (963139) | more than 3 years ago | (#36200614)

I know Americans aren't very welcome in NK, and also barred from doing business by the US gov., but this doesn't apply to Asian's and Europeans. While there probably aren't 500.000 expats in NK, there are certainly 10's of thousands and they do appreciate having a mobile phone. I suspect many sign up for 3G as well.

Re:NORTH Korea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36215120)

I've never even thought of foreigners actually going to NK and living there cause they wanted to, or to do business. I thought the whole world thought the NK government was lame. But I guess I was just being Pollyanna. Now I'm curious about who's there and what they do. Do rich people go there to hang out?

Re:NORTH Korea (1)

quenda (644621) | more than 3 years ago | (#36202930)

Half a million no-connection tones?
If it is anything like some US or Australian Networks, subscriber numbers don't mean they have a network capable of serving that many people.

(I'm looking at you, Vodafone.)

What?! (2)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 3 years ago | (#36200138)

North Korea is entering the information age? Perhaps the rapture really IS coming!

Really? (-1, Offtopic)

Vskye (9079) | more than 3 years ago | (#36200216)

News for Nerds? Ya, this is just another example of crap that shouldn't be on this website.

Stuff that matters (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36201444)

North Koreans are oppressed by a dictator. North Korea *could* become the next Egypt, Tunisia, Syria, or Lebanon if they have enough access to communications technology (yes, I understand that *very* different things happened in all of those places).

Re:Really? (1)

gangien (151940) | more than 3 years ago | (#36201556)

And why not? the adoption of technology in a place like north korea isn't nerdy enough for you?

Can't believe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36200242)

North Korea with the 3G cell phone [vastwholesale.com] ? I can't believe!

Dear Leader should run AT&T (5, Funny)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | more than 3 years ago | (#36200268)

How can he get 500k North Koreans 3G service and AT&T still struggles to get me a usable data service here in the States?

Dear Leader Kim Jong Il should run AT&T.

Smart idea (1)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 3 years ago | (#36200370)

AT&T's warrantless wiretapping technology would be a perfect fit for the Dear Leader.

Re:Dear Leader should run AT&T (1)

ThunderBird89 (1293256) | more than 3 years ago | (#36201150)

Well, it would certainly solve your internet access problems. After a fashion...

How do we know all 500k live in North Korea? (1)

BenJCarter (902199) | more than 3 years ago | (#36200362)

Paranoid, or not paranoid enough?

Ridiculous (2)

creat3d (1489345) | more than 3 years ago | (#36200364)

There's no way that many North Koreans are well-fed enough to hold a conversation. I refuse to believe it.

Re:Ridiculous (2)

royallthefourth (1564389) | more than 3 years ago | (#36201290)

Gimme a break. A persistent problem in the food supply doesn't mean that everyone is starving.

Re:Ridiculous (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36201348)

Gimme a break. A persistent problem in the food supply doesn't mean that everyone is starving.

Two points:

1, No...but it means that a hell of a lot of them are. That's pretty much the definition of a persistent problem in food supply. The situation in North Korea is bad beyond belief, and has been for a long, long time. When there are bodies lying in the street, dead from starvation (as shot by hidden cameras when Lisa Ling went there for National Geographic), that's a pretty bad situation.

2, He was joking. Hyperbole. Exaggeration. You know, the kind of thing that happens just before everyone else in the room (except, perhaps, you) starts laughing?

Re:Ridiculous (1)

tmosley (996283) | more than 3 years ago | (#36202062)

Under communism, the people starve while party members feast. More than likely, the only people getting cell phones are party members and perhaps foreign contractors.

This is what happens when you don't allow people to think for themselves, and try to centrally plan things.

Re:Ridiculous (1)

value (2182292) | more than 3 years ago | (#36203688)

North Korea is one big death camp. All communist countries are like that.

Our western democracies are not much better, since they're all violence-based systems in this regard similar to the communist ones. The difference is that our western democracies are less insane than North Korea. But still not sane enough. So I'm not shot for writing this, like I would be in NK, for example, but half of what I earn is still taken away from me, under the threat of deadly violence and enslavement... at least I can keep the other half.

Since all land on our planet is either taken up by western democracies or worse systems, there's really no place to hide from all this madness. (Hopefully Seasteading can change that.) But until then I regard our planet as one big prison, while some areas like North Korea are death camp areas within the large prison world. I'm glad I wasn't born in NK or a similar place at least.

A number without context isn't too useful (4, Informative)

Anubis IV (1279820) | more than 3 years ago | (#36200504)

For reference, North Korea has a population of roughly 24M, so that's roughly one 3G subscription per 50 people. I know that news on North Korea is popular around here, but I'm guessing I'm not the only one that didn't have its population memorized.

Re:A number without context isn't too useful (1)

ArsonSmith (13997) | more than 3 years ago | (#36201570)

So obviously the rest of the country is stuck on 2g service. Poor 3rd world countries.

But are they phone's or computers as we see them? (1)

Teun (17872) | more than 3 years ago | (#36201184)

I wonder how many of these 'subscribers' know they are carrying one.

An other use might be to connect villages and army outposts to the central command, it is known the NK infrastructure is seriously deficient and like in many African places it's easier to set up a wireless network than to run lines.

What ever it is used for, I don't believe the majority is for regular cell phones carried by private persons.

Re:But are they phone's or computers as we see the (1)

royallthefourth (1564389) | more than 3 years ago | (#36201322)

What ever it is used for, I don't believe the majority is for regular cell phones carried by private persons.

If that was the case, why would Koryolink, the cellular operator, claim them as normal 3G signups? If it was military capacity that they for some reason wanted to make public, surely they would state it as such. If it's military capacity that they want to keep secret, naturally they wouldn't report on it at all.

So, either they are proud enough of this small infrastructure achievement to announce to the world that they are not quite as poor as we had thought, or they are just making it up. But if it's a fabrication, 500k is a really small quantity to make up. If it's false, they could easily double the quantity they claim and not raise any (extra) eyebrows.

I can't reckon any sensible explanation for this announcement by Koryolink being anything but true.

Re:But are they phone's or computers as we see the (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 3 years ago | (#36209044)

the real question is how the north korean press is reporting it.

because yeah, making up bullshit about the advances in technological pickup would fit north koreas style, also it gives a signal that they're opening up. unless all the cells are in use by the state police. but it would be interesting to know if they're marketing cellphone existence and availability to the local masses there.

Ned Flanders (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36201382)

North Koreans with 3G connections. Kind of like the Ned Flanders and his satellite TV: "Sure doodily-do. Over 230 channels locked out!"

offline (1)

egorF (983105) | more than 3 years ago | (#36202956)

There is no internet on their cellphone network. Americans cannot go there, but many europeans report that.

What kind of bandwidth are we talking about? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36211312)

I mean, this might not even really be that huge of an achievement, since the definition of 3G is so wide.

And yes, I did RTFA and it's not in there, or Wikipedia for that matter.

All phones preprogrammed with speed dial numbers? (1)

kimgkimg (957949) | more than 3 years ago | (#36211564)

Great Leader daily affirmations hotline is #1...
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